The term “fish” is used to describe a life-form rather than a taxonomic group. Hence, all fishes are members of the phylum Chordata. Moreover, the class Pisces, which are used in older literature are no longer valid. This is due to the fact that fishes are considered a paraphyletic group – which means it contains a common ancestor and some, but not all of the descendants. In this case – any clade that contains fishes also includes tetrapods – and tetrapods are not fish.
Points to Ponder
Fishes evolved more than 450 million years ago, adapting into every conceivable aquatic environment. When fishes evolved to colonize land, they evolved four limbs – and eventually became the tetrapods. Hence, vertebrates that now live on land could be thought of as “highly modified fish.” For instance, human embryos have gill arches just like fishes – however, they do not become gill apparatus, instead they become the voice box, lower jaw and middle ear. Even the embryos of birds, mammals and amphibians are almost similar – this is due to the fact that genes were inherited from a common fish-like ancestor. Similarly, the “Sonic Hedgehog” is a gene that is responsible for the development of fingers. Granted, fish do not have fingers, but they have this gene which makes fingers possible. When activated, the gene can enable the organism to grow extra fins and fingers – enabling the earliest fishes to transition onto land.
Articles of Interest:
- Scientific Names of the Most Common Animals and Plants
- Mammalia – Characteristics and Classification Of Mammals
- Herbivorous & Carnivorous Animals – Characteristics & Examples
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Frequently Asked Questions on Scientific Name of Fish
What is the scientific name of fish?
Fishes fall under the subphylum Vertebrata