Two 5.5" Devonian Lobed-Fin Fish (Osteolepis) - Scotland

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This is a beautiful pair of Early Devonian, "Lobed-Fin" fish (Osteolepis panderi). One is 5.6" long and the second is 6" long on a 12.7 x 9" slab of rock. It's fairly unusual to get more than a single one of these fish on one piece of rock. It was collected from the Sandwick Fish Beds in the Old Red Sandstone in the Orkney Isles of Scotland.

Osteolepis ('bone scale') is an extinct genus of lobe-finned fish from the Devonian period. It lived in the Lake Orcadie of northern Scotland. Osteolepis averaged about 20 cm (7.9 in) long, and covered with large, square scales. The scales and plates on its head were covered in a thin layer of spongy, bony material called cosmine. This layer contained canals which were connected to sensory cells deeper in the skin. These canals ended in pores on the surface, and were probably for sensing vibrations in the water.

Artists reconstruction of Osteolepis. Creative Commons, by Nobu Tamura (
Artists reconstruction of Osteolepis. Creative Commons, by Nobu Tamura (

Osteolepis was a rhipidistian, having a number of features in common with the tetrapods (land-dwelling vertebrates and their descendants), and was probably close to the base of the tetrapod family tree.
Osteolepis macrolepidotus
Cruaday Hill Quarry, Orkney Isles, Scotland
Old Red Sandstone
5.6" & 6" on 12.7x9" rock
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