The almost complete fossil of Piranhamesodon pinnatomus . The fine details preserved in the fossil are truly incredible. Image: M.…
The almost complete fossil of Piranhamesodon pinnatomus . The fine details preserved in the fossil are truly incredible. Image: M. Ebert and T. Nohl
Piranha-like creatures that can bite meat pieces from their victims about 150 million years ago, according to new research.
Introduction of Piranhamesodon pinnatomus – the oldest known carnivorous flesh-fished bonefish, a fish family that today contains trout, grouper and cod. At the end of Jurassic, 150 million years ago, sharks (which are broccoli) and turtles could cut into meat with their teeth. But bonefish was adopted, could only eat plankton and crushed musters, or swallowed their swab all the way. The discovery of P. pinnatomus shows that there was at least one meat-cutting species around during this period of time. The details of this discovery were published today in Current Biology,
The almost complete fossil of this remarkable piranha-like fish was discovered in German limestone deposits that are 150 million years old.
The artist’s impression of Piranhamesodon pinnatomus
Image: Jura Museum, Eischstatt, Germany
“At that time, the area now southern Germany was occupied by a shallow tropical sea dotted with small sunbathing islands, covered with an probably sparse vegetation of snakes and bikes where exotic animals lived: many insects, lizards, small dinosaurs and the early bird Archeopteryx, “Martina Kölbl-Ebert, co-author of the study and a researcher at the Jura Museum Eichstätt, told Gizmodo. “In the sea there were mushroom reefs and small coral reefs. There were many invertebrates such as ammonia, squids or crustaceans, but also many different fish and marine reptiles.”
The newly described species is unique because it has excellent piracy-like teeth, which Kölbl -Ebert says it probably used bite meat from meat from other fish. Remarkably, Kölbl-Ebert, along with her co-author David Bellwood from James Cook University, found evidence to prove this. Fish fossils discovered in the same limestone decomposition had wounds in accordance with bats, such as pieces missing from fish ferns, perhaps caused by a creature like very much P. pinnatomus .
“This is a great parallel to modern piranhas, which mainly do not feed on meat but other fish,” Cook said in a statement. “It’s a remarkably smart move like the regrow, a nice renewable resource. Feed on a fish and it’s dead nibble its fins and you have food for the future.”
Kölbl-Ebert and Cook analyzed the fossil using a microscope , but they also performed CT scans to investigate the backside of the fossil and its interior. They also measured various functions, such as muscle length and jaw, to estimate the bite strength that the fish exerts and compare it with other modern and modern fishes, including piranhas.
Results revealed long pointed teeth and a leg that forms the mouth and the upper and lower jaw ceilings. It was important that it contained triangular teeth with serrated cutting edges. Its mouth, the researchers say, were most definitely capable of meat or fins.
“Bodies of body shape and fine morphology, our fish were slow swimming but very maneuverable,” told Kölbl-Ebert Gizmodo. “It lived in mushroom and coral reefs, where it would have looked quite insignificant, similar to any other contemporary coral fish. Because all the other fish in this group ate hard shelled organisms such as shellfish or sea drills, it could have fooled themselves among this crowd and thus attack its unwavering change quite efficiently. “
What’s especially amazing about P. pinnatomus is that it is not related to modern piranha, so it is a striking example of convergent development where similar characteristics occur in unrelated species.
“We were surprised that this fish had piracy-like teeth,” says Kölbl-Ebert. “It comes from a group of fishes – pycnodontides – known for their crushing teeth. It’s like finding a sheep with a snout like a wolf. But what was even more remarkable is that it was from law.”
The discovery of P. pinnatomus proposes that fish with the ability to tear in meat appeared earlier in the palaeontological record than previously assumed. Another cool aspect of the discovery is that P. pinnatomus unlike today’s freshwater piranhas, lived in the salty sea.
“The new discovery represents the earliest record of a bone-like fish that pieces pieces of other fish, and what else did it in the ocean,” said Bellwood. “So when the dinosaurs went on the ground and little dinosaurs tried to fly with the pterosaurs, the fish swam around the feet that worn the pork or meat off each other.”
Oh, Jurassic. We expect nothing less from this remarkable brutal period in evolutionary history.