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Last updated on April 21, 2014 at 12:45 EDT

Latest Matt Friedman Stories

Mystery Of The Flatfish Head Solved
2012-06-25 16:50:25

Those delicious flatfishes, like halibut and sole, are also evolutionary puzzles. Their profoundly asymmetrical heads have one of the most unusual body plans among all backboned animals (vertebrates) but the evolution of their bizarre anatomy has long been a mystery. How did flatfishes, with both of their eyes on one side of their head, evolve? So puzzling was the anatomy of flounders and their kin that they were used in early arguments against Darwin and his theory of natural selection....

'Head-first' Diversity Drove Vertebrate Evolution
2011-12-21 09:32:25

New study of fish fossil records near extinction events contradicts previous models The history of evolution is periodically marked by explosions in biodiversity, as groups of species try out a wide range of shapes and sizes. With a new analysis of two such adaptive radiations in the fossil record, researchers have discovered that these diversifications proceeded head-first. By analyzing the physical features of fossil fish that diversified around the time of two separate extinction...

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2009-03-27 09:31:44

The same types of fishes are vulnerable today Large size and a fast bite spelled doom for bony fishes during the last mass extinction 65 million years ago, according to a new study to be published March 31, 2009, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Today, those same features characterize large predatory bony fishes, such as tuna and billfishes, that are currently in decline and at risk of extinction themselves, said Matt Friedman, author of the study and a graduate student...

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2008-07-11 00:15:00

A researcher from the University of Chicago said newly identified fish fossils discovered in several European museums might resolve a long-standing question about evolutionary theory. The 50 million-year-old fossils fill in a "missing link" in the evolution of flatfishes and explain one of nature's most extraordinary phenomena, namely how flatfish such as sole, flounder halibut developed the bizarre but useful trait of having both eyes on one side of their head. Even more extraordinary is the...

2008-07-11 09:00:18

By WILLIAM MULLEN By William Mullen Chicago Tribune CHICAGO Some dusty fossil fish spotted by a sharp-eyed University of Chicago doctoral student as he rummaged through forgotten corners of museum collections in Europe have solved a question that has long vexed scientists. The puzzling question was: How did flatfish, a bizarre, highly specialized group of bottom-feeding fish - sole, plaice, turbot, flounder and halibut among them - end up with both of their eyes on one side of their...

2008-07-10 09:00:00

By William Mullen, Chicago Tribune Jul. 10--Some dusty fish fossils spotted by a sharp-eyed University of Chicago doctoral student as he rummaged through forgotten corners of museum collections in Europe have answered a question that has long vexed scientists. The puzzling question was: How did flatfish, a bizarre, highly specialized group of bottom-feeding fish that are some of nature's most delicious creatures--sole, plaice, turbot, flounder and halibut among them--end up with both of...

2008-07-10 00:00:09

CHICAGO _ Some dusty fossil fish spotted by a sharp-eyed University of Chicago doctoral student as he rummaged through forgotten corners of museum collections in Europe have solved a question that has long vexed scientists. The puzzling question was: How did flatfish, a bizarre, highly specialized group of bottom-feeding fish that are some of nature's most delicious creatures _ sole, plaice, turbot, flounder and halibut among them _ end up with both of their eyes on one side of their faces?...