Thursday, March 8, 2012

Haikouichthys

Haikouichthys
Haikouichthys is quite a mouthful to say for such a tiny creature. (High-Koo-ICK-Thisss!) These prehistoric swimmers measured only about an inch long, and lived way back in the Early Cambrian around 530 million years ago!

Haikouichthys is one of the many, many animals that evolved during the Cambrian. This period, which lasted from 542-488 million years ago, saw rapid and diverse evolution and population growth. What makes this particular animal so interesting is that it could be considered one of the very first fish. They had skulls, designating them as some of the earliest craniates. However, the fossil record is unclear as to whether they had actual spines, or just primitive notochords.

Spine or not, Haikouichthys demonstrated several other traits that can be found in modern fish. They had relatively fish like shapes, complete with two eyes and a mouth at the front of their heads, fines, and bilateral symmetry.

Status : Lived 530 million years ago
Location : Fossils found in China
Size : Length 1in (2.5cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Superclass : Agnatha -- Family : Myllokunmingiidae
Genus : Haikouichthys

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