Some early fish were much larger than expected. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Phillip Capper
Palaentologists have discovered the fossil remains of a large fish dating back 423 million years.
Up until now it has been generally believed that most of the Earth's earliest creatures were rather on the small side, but the finding of a 1m-long fish that lived nearly 200 million years before the dinosaurs appeared has turned this idea on its head.
Known as Megamastax amblyodus ( which means Big Mouth Blunt Tooth ), this ancient species would have fed on smaller animals as it prowled the prehistoric seas.
Thought to be the earliest vertebrate apex predator ever discovered in the fossil record, Big Mouth was a lot larger than anything else in the ocean at the time.
Scientists believe that competition among fish may have contributed to its abnormal size.
"During the Silurian period, the South China Sea, then at the equator, was the cradle of early jawed vertebrates, thus the ecological competition among these creatures was very intense," said study co-author Min Zhu.
Source: Discovery news | Comments (22)
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