Bichir (Polypteriformes)

Bichirs and the reedfish comprise Polypteridae, a family of archaic ray-finned fishes and the only family in the order Polypteriformes. All the species occur in freshwater habitats in tropical Africa and the Nile River system, mainly swampy, shallow floodplains and estuaries. Cladistia, polypterids and their fossil relatives, are considered the sister group to all other extant ray-finned fishes (Actinopteri). They likely diverged from Actinopteri at least 330 million years ago. A closely related group, the Scanilepiformes, are known from the Triassic, and are likely ancestral to polypterids. The oldest polypterids are around 100 million years old, from the early Late Cretaceous of South America and Africa.
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