Fish’s huge mistake preserved an uncommon fossil for us

Image of a fossilized fish in brownish rock.

Enlarge / The fish in query, with the ammonite positioned slightly below its backbone. (credit score: Cooper, et. al.)

Some extinct species left copious fossil remnants of their existence. Ammonites—an extinct sort of cephalopod—are one such instance. From the Devonian by way of the Paleocene, wherever historical seas as soon as lined Earth, one can often discover their coiled shells. So yet another exquisitely preserved ammonite isn’t essentially an enormous deal.

With the exception, maybe, of 1 intact instance discovered within the Posidonienschiefer Formation in Germany, the place most ammonite shells are flattened and fragmentary. Now, a long time after its unique discovery, scientists have taken a extra cautious have a look at the well-preserved ammonite and the fossil fish it was seemingly nestled towards. What they discovered shocked them: the fish had really swallowed the big ammonite—one thing we’ve by no means seen earlier than, even in fossils of a lot bigger marine species that we all know tried to feed on ammonites.

It didn’t work out nicely for the fish. The dimensions of the ammonite might have brought about the fish to drown, or it might have blocked its digestive tract, inflicting inside bleeding. Drifting right down to the seafloor, the fish was finally buried and fossilized, preserving that ammonite—together with details about the ecosystem it and the fish inhabited—for over 170 million years.

Learn 27 remaining paragraphs | Feedback

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *