Ancient Fish Had Better Abs Than You

Didn’t even work out

Jun 14, 2013
Outside Magazine

Paleontologists couldn’t help but admire the abdominal muscles found in a remarkably well-preserved 380-million-year-old fossilized fish. The fearsome placoderm possessing the abs in question is the first fish known to have those kinds of muscles.

“We didn’t expect these fish to have abdominal muscles, they’re the abs that people have,” said Flinders University paleontologist John Long. In fact, all living four-legged animals have abs to hold their bellies in, but fish have no need; the water does all that work for them.

But the armored, strong-jawed placoderm may have benefited from this unique feature. Scientists speculate that abs could have helped steady the placoderm’s body and armor as it swam, making the shark-like predator an excellent swimmer.

Scientists are excited to study the fossil further and figure out exactly what the abdominal muscles were used for. Perhaps the most excited is Per Ahlberg of Uppsala University, who marveled, “This thing has a corset worthy of Roger Moore in his later James Bond films.” What a fish.

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