Image via Cosmos Magazine/Facebook
Paleontologists recently discovered the Piranhamesodon pinnatomus, which is the world’s oldest known flesh-eating fish. Scientists found the fossilized remains in a limestone quarry in the Solnhofen region of Germany.
According to Cosmos magazine, the P. pinnatomus lived about 150 million years ago in the late Jurassic period and is the first known bony fish from that time period to have flesh-eating abilities.
Before this study, it was believed that the piranha was the first bony fish to develop teeth for flesh biting, which was considered to be a late adaptation by scientists. The discovery of the fossils, however, point to convergent evolution with modern piranhas.
“We were stunned that this fish had piranha-like teeth,” Matina Kölbl-Ebert, co-author of the study, tells the outlet. “It comes from a group of fishes--called the pycnodontids--that are famous for their crushing teeth. It is like finding a sheep with a snarl like a wolf. But what was even more remarkable is that it was from the Jurassic.”
Scientists also found the remains of potential victims deposited in the limestone with damaged fins, according to the study. “It's a remarkably smart move as fins regrow, a neat renewable resource,” co-author David Bellwood of James Cook University, Australia, tells the outlet. “Feed on a fish and it is dead; nibble its fins and you have food for the future.”
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