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> Agnathans | Placoderms and Acanthodians | Sharks and Relatives | Ray-finned Fish | Lobe-finned Fish

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Notogoneus osculus
Notogoneus osculus
© 2001 The Virtual Fossil Museum

Mioplosus labracoides
Mioplosus labracoides
© 2005 The Virtual Fossil Museum

Charcharodon megalodon
Charcharodon megalodon
© 2004 UCMP

What are Fishes? The fishes include all the vertebrates that are not tetrapods. Most fishes have an elongate body, fins in different arrangements, and some type of body covering like scales or bony plates. Most breathe by means of gills, and all but the agnathans have jaws. All have skeletons composed of bone, except for the sharks and their relatives, whose skeletons are cartilaginous. Fishes have been around since the Cambrian, and different forms have been very diverse throughout the Phanerozoic.

First known fossil occurrence: Cambrian.

Last known fossil occurrence: Quaternary. This group has living relatives.

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