We have been vainly searching to identify a rather strange fish that we found near Miami Beach in South Florida.
We’ve never seen anything like it, including any Devonian armored fish, or modern “armored” fish like Polypterus.
This fish doesn’t have scales— more like hard interlocking scutes that mold to, or otherwise form the exact shape and contours of the body, much like a tortoise shell or carapace. Even the pattern on the scutes resembles tortoise shell, but that’s where the similarity ends.
The fish has a full internal skeleton in addition to the full hard exterior shell, so it is clearly a vertebrate. The dorsal and other fins were already gone when the fish was discovered.
There’s no evidence that there was ever skin on the outside of this creature either!
If anyone knows what kind of fish this is, we would be eternally grateful to find out!