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Missing Link Found for Modern Flatfish
By Angela Messina, June 26, 2012 @ 02:28 PM (EST)
Source: LiveScience

For a long time, scientists have wondered and debated about the evolution of flatfish, such as halibut, flounder, and sole, whose eyes sit directly next to each other on the same side of the fish’s head. Now, it appears that the missing genetic link has been found.

A fossil of a fish with an eye that has partially migrated to the top of its scull—but not completely to the other side—seems to fill in the gap between modern flatfish and fish that have eyes on both sides of their heads.

The fossil was found by Matt Friedman, a paleobiologist at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, in a drawer of unidentified fish fossils in the Natural History Museum of Vienna, Austria.

The strange placement of flatfish’s eyes has evolved in this way so that the fish can lie on the sea floor with both eyes above the sediment.

Read more about the discovery here.

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