Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Histology of the first fish

January 1, 1996

THE first description of Anatolepis Bockelie & Fortey was from early Ordovician sediments of Ny Friesland, Spitsbergen1,2, but the genus is now known from many localities in North America and Greenland, ranging in age from the Late Cambrian period to the Early Ordovician3-6. Although initially interpreted as an agnathan fish2,3 that predated other representatives7, this has been widely disputed because the available histological data were unconvincing6,8-10 and the scales fell outside the known morphological range of other accepted early vertebrates9-11. Further doubt was cast upon the vertebrate affinity of Anatolepis when specimens from East Greenland were interpreted as the cuticular fragments of aglaspid arthropods6, although this interpretation has also been refuted12. Here we report on the morphology and histology of large collections of Anatolepis, and demonstrate the presence of dentine, a tissue unique to vertebrates, confirming that the taxon is both a vertebrate and the oldest known fish.

Publication Year 1996
Title Histology of the first fish
Authors M.P. Smith, I.J. Sansom, J. E. Repetski
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Nature
Index ID 70018467
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse