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Scientists from the University of Bristol have revealed that ray-finned fishes are perhaps one of Earth's most resilient groups of animals, having survived four mass extinction events that wiped out many other groups.
Today the Actinopterygii represent around half of all living vertebrates, with over 32,000 species known.
Diversity - Years - Evolution
This remarkable modern diversity has come about through around 400 million years of evolution.
Actinopterygians successfully passed through four of the big five mass extinction events of the Phanerozoic (the last 541 million years).
Events - Evolution - Group - Understood
How most of these events shaped the evolution of the group is however poorly understood.
Lead author Fiann Smithwick from the University of Bristol's School of Earth Sciences, said: "We looked in detail at how actinopterygians fared during two of these major mass extinctions, the Permo-Triassic and end-Triassic extinctions by looking at how their morphology (body shape and jaw...
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