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First fossil lungfish remains discovered in Russia’s Urals area

This find indicates that coastal shallow waters, with thick limestone deposits, were home to various types of vertebrates

PERM, June 30. /TASS/. Fossil Devonian lungfish remains have been discovered by researchers from the Russian Academy of Science’s Paleontological Institute in a limestone quarry in Russia’s Urals Perm Territory, the local government’s administration said in a press statement on Tuesday.

"This is the first fossil lungfish found in the Urals. These prehistoric animals had both gills and lungs and could extract oxygen from water and from the air. As a matter of fact, they were remote ancestors of all four-footed vertebrates, including humans. The fossil lungfish remains comprising skull bones, tooth plates and two fins have been preliminarily studied at a Paleontological Institute’s laboratory," it said.

This find indicates that coastal shallow waters, with thick limestone deposits, were home to various types of vertebrates.

Lungfishes have survived to the present day and now live in Africa, Australia and South America.

The limestone quarry of the local cement plant holds Late Devonian littoral sediments dating approximately 365 million years. A survey also revealed a layer of asphaltic limestones with plant imprints. These finds are yet to be studied.

"So far, scientists say these might be rhyneophytes, or primitive vascular plants, live the present-day lycopsids. Specialists from the Paleontological Institute’s entomology laboratory say it is highly probable that the quarry may contain fossil insects. Currently, there are very few Devonian insects across the globe," the government said.