The major advantage of the oxygen in phosphate isotope paleothermometry is that it is a system which records temperatures with great sensitivity while bone (and teeth) building organisms are alive, and the record is nearly perfectly preserved after death. Fish from seven water bodies of different temperatures (3-23°C) and different δ18O (values -16 to +3) of the water were analysed. The δ18O values of the analysed PO4 vary from 6 to 25. The system passed the following tests: (a) the temperatures deduced from isotopic analyses of the sequence of fish from Lake Baikal are in good agreement with the temperatures measured in the thermally stratified lake; (b) the isotopic composition of fish bone phosphate is not influenced by the isotopic composition of the phosphate which is fed to the fish, but only by temperature and water composition. Isotopic analysis of fossil fish in combination with analysis of mammal bones should be a useful tool in deciphering continental paleoclimates.