Oldest bony fish fossils found, according to a report in Nature, vol. 448, p583, 2 August 2007. Palaeontologists have found fossilised fish jaw bones in the late Silurian rocks in Sweden and Germany, believed to be 416-423 million years old. They have been identified as Andreolepis hedei and Lophosteus superbus, which have previously only been known from bone fragments. The jawbones are distinctive of bony fish but the teeth are not the same as living bony fish. The researchers concluded: “The bones are a characteristic osteichthyan maxillary and dentary, but the organization of the tooth-like denticles they bear differs from the large, conical teeth of crown-group osteichthyans, indicating that they can be assigned to the stem group. Andreolepis and Lophosteus are thus not only the oldest but also the most phylogenetically basal securely identified osteichthyans known so far.”

Editorial Comment: Now that’s a mouthful for sure, so “Phylogenetically basal” means that the fossils are put at the bottom of an evolutionary tree for fish. They are assumed to be ancestors of modern bony fish. However, all these fossils indicate is that they were different to living bony fish and have since died out. Since extinction is the norm at present and nothing is evolving to replace lost creatures, the finding of one more group of extinct fish does not help the theory of evolution. Since creation, the world has degenerated because of man’s sin and God’s judgement and many living things have died out, including these bony fish. (Ref. phylogeny, ichthyology)

Evidence News 29 August 2007