The Jurassic Sea was a rather scary place. Toothy marine lizards like ichthyosaurs, mosasaurs and plesiosaurs patrolled the world's sea…
The Jurassic Sea was a rather scary place. Toothy marine lizards like ichthyosaurs, mosasaurs and plesiosaurs patrolled the world’s sea along with early sharks. New research adds another hungry creature to the mix. Hannah Osborne on Newsweek reports paleontologists in Germany have smoothed the fossils of a 150 million year old piranha fish together with some of their victims.
According to the study published in the journal Current biology researchers discovered the fossil fish, called Piranhamesodon pinnatomus in the limestone in southern Germany. They used CT scans and microscopic examination to get a good look at the interior of the fossil’s mouth and examine its bone structure. While the fish around 3 cm tall is small, the teeth are not. Knife like, triangular serrated choppers jut out of its top and bottom jaws. Based on morphology, researchers estimate that it had more than enough power to tear meat from other fish.
The result is surprising because the fish comes from a group that is unaware of eating each other. Typically, other related species are specialized in cracking open hard shelled organisms.
“We were surprised that this fish had piracy-like teeth,” said author Martina Kölbl-Ebert in the Jura Museum Eichstätt in a press release. “It comes from a group of fish (pycnodontides) known for its crushing teeth. It’s like finding a sheep with a snack like a wolf.”
But it was even more remarkable that it was from the jury period. Fish as we know them, bony fish, not only bites meat of other fish at that time. While sharks have been able to bite meat meat through history, bonefish either feed on invertebrates or to a large extent extinguish their change throughout. Pieces of meat or fins were something that came a lot later. “
P. pinnatomus was probably not a killer. The scientists believe that the fish attacked the flange of other fish similar to today’s piranhas. Fish fox regrow, which means that by targeting flippers instead of killing his byte P. pinnatomus exercised sustainable carnivorism. There is evidence of this technique. Fossils of other fishes in the vicinity show bats and missing pieces of fine.
The fish probably swung about its byte undiscovered. ” Bodies of body shape and fine morphology, our fish were slow swimming but very maneuverable, “Kölbl-Ebert says George Dvorsky on Gizmodo.” It lived in mushroom and coral reefs, where it would have looked quite insignificant, similar to any other contemporary coral fish. Since all other fish in this group ate hard-shelled organisms such as shellfish or sea drills, it would have been possible to fool among this crowd and thus attack their unwavering change quite effectively. “
Despite its taste for fish ferns, P. pinnatomus is not related to modern piranhas. Instead, the fondness of meat is an example of convergent development, where different species develop the same characteristics at different times and through while the old fish was a saltwater creature, the modern piranha’s freshwater fish. The ancestors of modern piranhas were not developed until about 25 million years ago ̵
1; long after the dinosaurs were extinct – and today’s piranhas, including some vegetarian fish, have been around 1.8 million years.