Name Eusthenopteron
Class Sarcopterygii
Name Translation Robust Fin
Period Devonian 380-360 Million Years Ago
Location Oceans
Diet Carnivore
Length 6.5 feet (2 meters) long

Eusthenopteron was a tetrapod Lobe-finned fish in the Devonian Period 385 million years ago.

Eusthenopteron foordi 1

Eusthenopteron Fossil

They're one of the Devonian lobe-finned prehistoric fishes that have limbs that are much like the first amphibian Ichthyostega and lived in the same period but not in the same time. Other lobe-finned fishes that are tetrapodomorphs were Panderichthys and Tiktaalik.


Eusthenopteron was very advanced in terms of fish from the Devonian. It was one of the few fishes that actually had strong, limb-like fins that could've helped to pull itself around when the water got shallow, making it that much closer to becoming and amphibian and therefore a land dweller. It likely evolved from earlier fish that had started to try and move into shallower water and therefore needed stronger fins to move through the more land-based environment. Eusthenopteron is significant in the fossil record because it's sort of a "missing link" in the ev
Field Museum devonian mural detail
olution of amphibians and land-based creatures. It shows how fish first evolved strong fins that were capable of pulling them around before gaining actual digits and lungs. Eusthenopteron is likely an ancestor of Tiktaalik, which is technically the first amphibian and therefore land vertebrate.


Eusthenopteron is a strange-looking fish. It was quite big, over 6.5 feet (2 meters) long, and was long and slenderly built. It had a large head with powerful jaws that could've been capable of delivering a nasty bite to any potential victims and several strong, pointy teeth
that were perfectly designed to keep a hold of its prey and tear it apart. It had several broad fins coming from all over its body, but its frontal and back fins were especially strange. They were very well-muscled and thick, unusual for a fish. Most scientists believe it used these fins to help pull itself around on the the ocean floor when it got shallow and that it was a sign to show that amphibians were close to evolving.

In Popular Culture

  • Eusthenopteron was featured in the documentary Animal Armageddon, where it was shown how to live until the Devonian Extinction occured.
  • It was also in the hit Japanese movie Ponyo alongside several other ancient Devonian fish.
  • Eusthenopterons also appeared in the 8th movie of The Land Before Time in the beginning in the ocean.






Animal Armageddon

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