(Mirror Daily, United States) – In the north-east of Nevada, researchers discovered the fossil of a fish which should have resembled a shark’s appearance and way of eating. The fish was 5.9 feet long, and had long jaws and teeth. Researchers think this fish didn’t shallow whole its prey, but rather chewed it like a shark does.
The ancient marine predator resembled a shark
Researchers identified the species of the fish as Birgeria Americana, which was previously unknown. It should have lived in the sea covering Nevada and other neighboring states one million years after a massive extinction which took place about 252 million years earlier.
This event wiped out around 90 percent of all marine creatures. This led to a slow process of recovery, which extended over a period of 5 million years. Before they made this discovery, researchers thought the first major marine predators appeared only between 247 and 235 million years ago.
The fossil is made up of fragments of a skull, sporting three rows of teeth which were up to two centimeters long. These teeth are placed along the edges of the jaw, and feature several smaller teeth inside. Such jaws made it possible for the fish to pursue its prey and bite it before swallowing it, just like a modern shark would do.
The findings challenged previous views on predators
The Ichthyosaur was one of the most famous fossils found in Nevada. However, this shark ancestor lived around 30 million years earlier. This is vital for the understanding of how marine predators evolved after the aforementioned extinction event.
This discovery highlighted several events and facts which were previously regarded as impossible. For instance, they found evidence of big fish living in waters which were thought of as too warm to hold life forms. All the other details have been collected in the Journal of Paleontology.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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