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Dr John Long presents the Materpiscis M. attenboroughi

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Published on May 29, 2008

(from the Latin meaning 'mother fish') is a genus of from the (c. 380 million years old) of Western Australia, described by John Long of and colleagues. It was about 25-30 cm long and had powerful crushing tooth plates to grind up its prey, possibly hard shelled invertebrates like clams or corals. Known from only one specimen, it is unique in having an unborn embryo present inside the mother fish, and with remarkable preservation of a mineralised placental feeding structure (umbilical cord). This make Materpiscis the oldest known vertebrate to show , or giving birth to live young. The species name, honours Sir who first drew attention to the significance of the Gogo fish sites in his 1979 series "Life on Earth" (episode 4).

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