EvolutionSee also: prehistoric fish
Fish do not represent a monophyletic group, and therefore the "evolution of fish" is not studied as a single event.
Early fish from the fossil record are represented by a group of small, jawless, armored fish known as Ostracoderms. Jawless fish lineages are mostly extinct. An extant clade, the Lampreys may approximate ancient pre-jawed fish. The first jaws are found in Placodermi fossils. The diversity of jawed vertebrates may indicate the evolutionary advantage of a jawed mouth. It is unclear if the advantage of a hinged jaw is greater biting force, improved respiration, or a combination of factors.
Fish may have evolved from a creature similar to a coral-like Sea squirt, whose larvae resemble primitive fish in important ways. The first ancestors of fish may have kept the larval form into adulthood (as some sea squirts do today), although perhaps the reverse is the case.
Read more about this topic: Fish
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