Sturgeon is the common name for the 27 species of fish belonging to the family Acipenseridae. The earliest sturgeon fossils date to the Late Cretaceous, and are descended from other, earlier acipenseriform fish who date back to the Triassic period some 245 to 208 million years ago. The family is grouped into four genera: Acipenser, Huso, Scaphirhynchus and Pseudoscaphirhynchus. Four species may now be extinct. Two closely related species, Polyodon spathula and Psephurus gladius are of the same order, Acipenseriformes, but are in the family Polyodontidae and are not considered to be "true" sturgeons. Both sturgeons and paddlefish have been referred to as "primitive fishes" because their morphological characteristics have remained relatively unchanged since the earliest fossil record. Sturgeons are native to subtropical, temperate and sub-Arctic rivers, lakes and coastlines of Eurasia and North America.
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