Sunday, June 17, 2012

Coccosteus

Coccosteus
There are several different types of fish swimming around today. We have the Ray-finned Fish, The Cartilaginous Fish, the Jawless Fish, and the awesome prehistoric Lobe-finned Fish. But once upon a time we have a 5th group-- the Placoderms, or Armored Fish.

Placoderms once swam in waters all over the world, but the entire class died out during the late Devonian period around 360 million years ago. These scary looking armor plated fish are probably best known from their largest class member-- Dunkleosteus. But keep in mind that not all Placoderms where over 20ft long. Like the other fish classes, they had members of all sizes!

Coccosteus is one genus of fish on the opposite side of the size spectrum. These little guys were only around 16in at the longest. They still possessed the same armored heads as their larger cousins, and they also had a modified jaw that let them open their moths extra wide in order to eat larger prey.

Coccosteus fossils have been sound in freshwater areas of Europe and North America. Also proving that Placoderms were found in both water types. There are several species within the Coccosteus species, but all died out at the end of the Devonian, along with their larger Placoderm cousins.

Status : Extinct for 360 million years
Location : Europe and North America
Size : Length up to 16in (41cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : †Placodermi -- Order : Arthrodira
Family : Coccosteidae -- Genus : Coccosteus

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