Yunnanolepis in Yunnan

Yunnanolepis is an extinct genus of primitive antiarch placoderm. The fossils of the various species are found in Early to Middle Devonian strata in Southern China and Middle Devonian strata in Vietnam. Yunnanolepis is a genus of early vertebrate fish known from Yunnan Province, China.

Discovery and Naming

  • Discovery: Fossils of Yunnanolepis have been discovered in various locations within Yunnan Province, China.
  • Name Origin: The genus name “Yunnanolepis” combines “Yunnan,” referring to the province where it was found, and “olepis,” which means “scale” in Greek.

Physical Characteristics

  • Anatomy: Yunnanolepis is primarily known from well-preserved fossil scales, which are small and rhomboid-shaped.
  • Scale Morphology: The scales of Yunnanolepis exhibit distinct ornamentation patterns, such as tubercles or ridges, which are important for its identification and classification.


  • Early Vertebrate: Yunnanolepis belongs to the group of early vertebrates known as thelodonts, characterized by their small, scale-covered bodies.
  • Paleozoic Era: It lived during the Paleozoic era, specifically in marine environments.


  • Habitat: During the Paleozoic era, Yunnan was part of a marine environment, likely characterized by shallow seas with diverse aquatic life.
  • Significance: Fossils of Yunnanolepis contribute to our understanding of early vertebrate evolution and the biodiversity of Paleozoic marine ecosystems.


  • Paleontological Importance: The discovery of Yunnanolepis fossils in Yunnan highlights the region’s significance in preserving early vertebrate fossils and expanding our knowledge of Paleozoic marine life.

Yunnanolepis represents an important find in the study of early vertebrate evolution, particularly within the context of Paleozoic marine environments in Yunnan Province, China.