Scientists Discover World's Smallest Fish


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BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- Scientists have discovered the world's smallest fish on record in an acidic peat swamp in Indonesia.

This exciting recent discovery is relevant to the Evolutionary Biology community for several reasons. For example, this fish has several unique anatomica l features, such as a transparent body, a head which is unprotected by a skeleton, enlarged fins and exceptionally large muscles (believed to be used for reproductive purposes), and a complete vertebrae in an extremely small body. Further investigation of these unusual characteristics may help biologists understand more about the principle of descent with modification which is the essence of evolution.

In addition, the article states:
he fish live in dark, tea-colored water with an acidity of ph 3, at least 100 times more acidic than rainwater. Swamps like this were once thought to harbor very few animals, but recent research has revealed that they are highly diverse and home to many species that occur nowhere else.

Exactly how organisms evolve to not only survive, but thrive in environments such as this is a central question in the study of evolutionary biology.

The article goes on to explain that:
Peat swamps are under threat in Indonesia from fires lit by plantation owners and farmers as well as unchecked development and farming. Several populations of Paedocypris have already been lost, researchers say, according to the Natural History Museum.

This serves as a reminder that evolution is a delicate process and the development or destruction of new species can be severely affected by human activity.

Finally, as new (or previously uncharacterized) species are described we are reminded that our understanding of the evolution of living organisms is a dynamic thing which constantly needs to be re-examined and re-evaluated.

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