News Link: Scientists Find Fossil of ‘Bizarre’ Ancient Shark With Lengthy Wing-Like Fins – By MK (Editor)
Scientists on Thursday announced the discovery of a nearly complete fossil of the shark, called Aquilolamna milarcae. Lived during the Cretaceous Period at a time when dinosaurs ruled the land.
Its unusual proportions – a fin span of about 1.9 meters and a length from head to tail of about1.65 meters left the scientists amazed.
The life reconstruction of the unusual shark Aquilolamna milarcae, which lived during the Cretaceous Period at the same time as the dinosaurs.
Aquilolamna’s name means “eagle shark,” a nod to its slender pectoral fins which “mainly acted as an effective stabilizer.” Which is according to vertebrate paleontologist Romain Vullo, lead author of the study published in the journal Science.
“Many adjectives can be used to describe this shark. Unusual, unique, extraordinary, bizarre, weird. Yes, it is the only shark that is wider than long,” said Vullo affiliated with Geosciences Rennes. Its a research unit involving the University of Rennes and France’s National Center for Scientific Research (C N R S).
“Aquilolamna is indeed a perfect example of an extinct creature revealing an unexpected new morphology. This strongly suggests that other outstanding body shapes and morphological adaptations may have existed through the evolutionary history of sharks,” Vullo said.
Like all sharks and the related skates and rays, Aquilolamna had a cartilaginous skeleton. It had the familiar torpedo-shaped body and tail of a shark but its pectoral fins were utterly unique. The researchers said Aquilolamna appears to have been a slow-swimming shark that fed on plankton through filter-feeding. Jus as plankton-eating whale sharks and basking sharks do today.
The fossil, unearthed in Mexico’s state of Nuevo Leon, did not reveal Aquilolamna’s filter mechanism for eating.
Rays such as the manta ray, with their flattened bodies and large pectoral fins fused all the way to the head. Swim through the water as if they are flying through the air. Aquilolamna appears to have done something similar.
Aquilolamna lived in the open ocean at a time when the seas were populated with marine reptiles. Squid relatives with large shells called ammonites, various bony fishes, and large sharks. The largest predator in its ecosystem was a shark called Cretoxyrhina, measuring 20 feet long.
The fish group that includes sharks appeared roughly beyond 380 million years, long before the dinosaurs.
Similarly, Aquilolamna is not the only unusual shark that has swum Earth’s oceans. Sharks and their close relatives have taken on many shapes and sizes.
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Scientists Find Fossil of ‘Bizarre’ Ancient Shark With Lengthy Wing-Like Fins