Describing the Diversity of Paleozoic Ray-Finned Fossil Fishes

Kathryn Mickle

Wagner Free Institute of Science and Science On Tap Philadelphia

Monday, December 12, 2022 6:00 pm EST

Online Event

Register Here.

Learn about Dr. Kathryn Mickle's research on the diversity of ray-finned fishes throughout Earth's history - through Paleozoic fish fossils!

Of the approximately 45,000 species of vertebrates alive today more than half (about 27,000 species) are ray-finned fishes. Ray-finned fishes, or actinopterygians, include fishes with familiar shapes like goldfish, tuna, and salmon, as well as some very oddly shaped fishes like seahorses, flounder, and pufferfish. Not only do ray-finned fishes exhibit remarkable morphological diversity, they are also found in diverse environments, ranging from small freshwater streams to the deep sea.
Dr. Kathryn Mickle’s research focuses on understanding the history of vertebrate evolution by studying fossils of early ray-finned fishes (lower actinopterygians) from the Paleozoic. These fish have the unfortunate distinction of being among the most understudied vertebrates, but that means there are abundant opportunities to describe new species! In her talk, Dr. Mickle will discuss her work on lower actinopterygian fishes, how new species are described, and why detailed taxonomic descriptions are important not only for our understanding of the diversity of these fossil fishes but also our understanding of today’s ray-finned fishes.
This is a FREE event hosted by the Wagner Free Institute of Science. Pre-registration is required.
About the Speaker: Dr. Mickle is a paleoichthyologist whose research focuses on over 300 million year old fossil fishes. She has described 9 new species and has led in depth investigations into the anatomy of these fossil fish. She is currently working on writing a book on lower actinopterygian fossil fishes. While her research focuses on fossil fish anatomy, her teaching focuses on human anatomy. She received the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2019.