Panderichthys

Name: Panderichthys ‭(‬Pander’s fish‭)‬.
Phonetic: Pan-der-ik-fiss.
Named By: Dross‭ ‬-‭ ‬1941.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Sarcopterygii,‭ ‬Elpistostegalia,‭ ‬Panderichthyidae.
Species: P.‭ ‬rhombolepis,‭ ‬P.‭ ‬stolbovi.
Diet: Carnivore/Piscivore.
Size: Around‭ ‬90-130‭ ‬centimetres long.
Known locations: Latvia.‭ ‬Also Russia‭?
Time period: Frasnian of the Devonian.
Fossil representation: Several individuals,‭ ‬they often represented by incomplete and fragmentary remains.

       Panderichthys was a fish of the mid and late Devonian period,‭ ‬and one that may help to complete a gap in evolutionary theory.‭ ‬The fins of Panderichthys show the first development of fingers within them,‭ ‬and when compared to other Devonian era fish and amphibians,‭ ‬helps to complete what we would have expected the transition from fin to‭ '‬hand‭’ ‬to have looked like.‭ ‬There also seems to have been a shift towards the pelvic region as the primary source of locomotion,‭ ‬just like in land living animals.
       However,‭ ‬while the features of Panderichthys‭ ‬help to show us how the transition from water to land happened,‭ ‬we do not know for certain if Panderichthys was a part of this,‭ ‬or rather,‭ ‬was just one of many forms that could have completed the transition.‭ ‬Fossil track ways of fish very similar to Panderichthys have been established to come from the late Emsian period of the Devonian‭ (‬Niedźwiedzki et al,‭ ‬2010‭) ‬indicating that the transition and evolution could well have been underway some fifteen million years before the known appearance of Panderichthys.‭ ‬Assuming that Panderichthys did not live back then as well,‭ ‬and we have simply not found the fossils,‭ ‬then Panderichthys would have been a late surviving form of an archaic creature that had already evolved into a more advanced terrestrial form.
       As a living creature,‭ ‬Panderichthys may have specialised in living in shallow and debris filled waters,‭ ‬where stout fins would have been welcome features for aiding movement when there was not enough free water to keep the body buoyant.‭ ‬We do not know for certain if Panderichthys ever left the water to walk on land,‭ ‬though study of the body shows that terrestrial locomotion was feasible for the genus,‭ ‬if only by pushing the body with the tail.‭ ‬Why Panderichthys would want to leave the water is also not known,‭ ‬but a possible scenario could be Panderichthys squirming through wet swamps to reach new bodies of water,‭ ‬either to hunt or possibly to reach spawning grounds,‭ ‬perhaps in a manner similar to modern day salmon or some fresh water eels‭ (‬Anguilla‭)‬.
       Panderichthys is named in honour of Heinz Christian Pander (a.k.a. Christian Heinrich Pander).

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More information on the above fish can be found on their corresponding pages; Ceratodus, Chinlea, Dipnorhynchus, Dipterus, Eusthenopteron, Gooloogongia, Griphognathus, Gyroptychius, Holoptychius, Hyneria, Macropoma, Mandageria, Osteolepis, Panderichthys, Rhizodus, Strunius, Tiktaalik (upper estimate).

Further reading
-‭ ‬The pelvic fin and girdle of Panderichthys and the origin of tetrapod locomotion‭ ‬-‭ ‬Catherine A.‭ ‬Boisvert‭ ‬-‭ ‬2005.
-‭ ‬Tetrapod trackways from the early Middle Devonian period of Poland‭ ‬-‭ ‬Grzegorz Niedźwiedzki,‭ ‬Piotr Szrek,‭ ‬Katarzyna Narkiewicz,‭ ‬Marek Narkiewicz‭ & ‬Per E.‭ ‬Ahlberg‭ ‬-‭ ‬2010.



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