Geologists Find Unique Fish Fossil

17. July 2013

In the end of June Estonian geologists found a fossil of a 394 million year old fish that might be named after the Vadja people, a people related to the Estonians.

The rare find, a fish fossil from the Devonian period, was unearthed in the Narva oil shale quarry. It is a completely new species, maybe even a new family, the daily Eesti Päevaleht writes.

Tarmo Kiipli, a researcher at the Institute of Geology of the Tallinn University of Technology, said that the seven-member research group actually went to examine the arrangement of different rock layers in the Narva quarry. They accidentally found a rock with fossils, which then led to new findings of fish. Most of the finds made in Estonia so far were parts of skeletons, but the newest discovery is a full-size skeleton with a 20-centimeter head and a 30-centimeter coat of scales.

"The fish we found is rare in Estonia because of its completeness," the head of collections at the Institute of Geology, Ursula Toom, rejoices.

"Since the fish was found in the Vadja formation, I am considering giving it the name of our kindred people, the Vadja people," the grand old lady of Estonian paleoichthyology Elga Mark-Kurik said.

To find out how unique the find actually is, a study of the fossil will now begin. The researchers will also contact other researchers of Devonian fish to obtain comparison materials. Only after an article has been published in an international scientific magazine will we know for sure how unusual the find is.