Giving birth to live young is thought to mainly occur in mammals and sharks, but a new study suggests that it was once a common mechanism for reproduction. A large group of ancient fish carried its embryos internally and bore live offspring, says a study published in Nature this week.
Reconstructed Arhtrodira anatomy

Image: Peter Trusler
A team led by John Long, a paleontologist at the Museum Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, identified embryos in extinct, jawed fish from a group called Arthrodira, the predominant members of the class Placodermi. Placoderms were bony, heavily armored fish that lived about 380 million years ago, and were "the dominant form of vertebrate life on the planet for 70 million years," Long said. The findings paint "a very complex picture of reproductive physiology in the deepest parts of the jawed vertebrate tree," said Martin Brazeau, a paleontologist at the Humboldt Museum in Berlin....
identifiedAnimated reconstruction of Arthrodire mating. Video: Nature, Museum Victoria
**__Related stories:__***linkurl:Presenting her majesty;
[1st August 2008]*linkurl:Ancient fingers and toes;
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