Monday, 22 November 2021


Eusthenopteron is a genus of prehistoric sarcopterygian (lobe-finned fish) with a close relationship to our dear tetrapods.

The fellow you see here was a fish but with aspirations to be so much more

Eusthenopteron gets his name from the Greek. I cannot think of this genus without picturing the Marvel Universe character Thanos, the genocidal warlord from Titan. While Eusthenopteron were ambitious they were not crazy kill half the Universe ambitious. Instead, they deserve the brouhaha surrounding them because they were the beginnings of an evolutionary push to move from water onto land. 

Their name derives from two Greek stems — eustheno or strength and pteron or wing — thus strongly developed fins. Early depictions of Eusthenopteron show them emerging onto land but this is a bit of fancy. They were strictly aquatic animals. 

Eusthenopteron is known from several species that lived during the Late Devonian, 385 million years ago, and was first described by J. F. Whiteaves in 1881, as part of a large collection of fishes from Miguasha, Quebec. 

While specimens like E. watsoni are very rare, Eusthenopteron fossils are a dime a dozen. More than 2,000 specimens have been collected from the outcrops at Miguasha, one of which was the object of intense study and several papers from the 1940s through to the 1990s by paleoichthyologist Erik Jarvik.

Photo: By Ghedoghedo - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,