Ancient fish species discovered in Nova Scotia, opens door for future research

A species of fish that lived 350 million years ago has been discovered in Nova Scotia, casting new light on a little-understood time period.

The discovery was made in 2015 by Jason Anderson, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Calgary, at Blue Beach, N.S., and announced Wednesday.

Chris Mansky, fossil researcher and curator of the Blue Beach Fossil Museum, says Anderson located the skull of the early Carboniferous fish and was able to compare it to the family tree of better-known relatives of the fish.

Mansky says the research of Anderson and his team show the fish's lineage appears to be a survivor of the Devonian extinction, which contradicts the notion that the extinction wiped out that group.

The species, Avonichthys manskyi, was named after the nearby Avon River and for Mansky, in honour of his years of collecting and exhibiting the fossils of Blue Beach.

The findings were published Wednesday in the United Kingdom's peer-reviewed Royal Society Open Science journal.