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Title   The rapid evolution of lungfish durophagy
Authors   Xindong Cui
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Year   2022
Title of Journal   Nature Communications
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Abstract   Innovations relating to the consumption of hard prey are implicated in ecological shifts in marine ecosystems as early as the mid-Paleozoic. Lungfishes represent the first and longest-ranging lineage of durophagous vertebrates, but how and when the various feeding specializations of this group arose remain unclear. Two exceptionally preserved fossils of the Early Devonian lobe-finned fish Youngolepis reveal the origin of the specialized lungfish feeding mechanism. Youngolepis has a radically restructured palate, reorienting jaw muscles for optimal force transition, coupled with radiating entopterygoid tooth rows like those of lungfish toothplates. This triturating surface occurs in conjunction with marginal dentition and blunt coronoid fangs, suggesting a role in crushing rather than piercing prey. Bayesian tip-dating analyses incorporating these morphological data indicate that the complete suite of lungfish feeding specializations may have arisen in as little as 7 million years, representing one of the most striking episodes of innovation during the initial evolutionary radiations of bony fishes.
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Full Text Link   https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-30091-3https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-30091-3
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