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A Significant Find By Archaeologists Hint At Piranha Like Fish In Jurassic Era

The new fish is a most interesting example of convergent evolution

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Fossil Fish
A new piranha-like fish from Jurassic seas with sharp, pointed teeth that probably fed on the fins of other fishes is seen in this artist's reconstruction of a fossil which was discovered in southern Germany in this image released from Eichstaett, Bavaria, Germany. VOA

You can call it a prehistoric prequel.

Scientists said on Thursday they have unearthed in southern Germany the fossil of a fish that, with its mouth full of razor-sharp teeth, strongly resembled today’s piranhas, the stars of more than their fair share of Hollywood horror films. But this one lived during the Jurassic Period 152 million years ago.

Named Piranhamesodon pinnatomus, it is the earliest known example of a bony fish — as opposed to cartilaginous fish like sharks — able to slice flesh rather than simply swallowing prey, enabling it to attack victims larger than itself as piranhas can.

Piranhamesodon, about 3-1/2 inches (9 cm) long, lived in the sponge and coral reefs of the Solnhofen archipelago, a shallow tropical sea in what is now Bavaria. Piranhas are freshwater fish that inhabit rivers and lakes in South America.

Fossil Fish
A new piranha-like fish fossil from Jurassic seas with sharp, pointed teeth that probably fed on the fins of other fishes, discovered in southern Germany from the time of dinosaurs and from the same deposits that contained Archaeopteryx, is seen in this image released from Eichstaett, Bavaria, Germany on October 18, 2018

Piranhamesodon was small, but its mouth was worthy of a scary movie. It boasted long, pointed, dagger-like teeth along the outer edge of its upper jaw and at the front of its lower jaw. It also had triangular teeth with serrated cutting edges on the side of its lower jaw.

“We were stunned that this fish had teeth which are capable of slicing flesh. It comes from a group of fishes, the pycnodontids, that are famous for their crushing teeth,” said paleontologist Martina Kölbl-Ebert of the Jura-Museum Eichstätt in Germany, who led the research published in the journal Current Biology.

“It is like finding a sheep with a snarl like a wolf,” Kölbl-Ebert added.

The fossil came from the same Bavarian limestone deposits as Archaeopteryx, the earliest-known bird.

“From the same quarry, we also have a number of other fish which may have been the victims of Piranhamesodon. They show injuries to their fins and fin bases, some freshly wounded before they died and got fossilized, whereas others show completely healed injuries with regeneration of the fin,” Kölbl-Ebert said.

Fossil Fish
With Piranha-Like Teeth, This Prehistoric Predator Never Bit Off More Than It Could Chew.

While it shares traits with piranhas, Piranhamesodon was neither their long-ago ancestor nor related to them at all. The oldest-known piranhas lived around 15 million years ago.

Piranhamesodon is an example of a phenomenon called convergent evolution in which organisms independently acquire similar characteristics as a result of adapting to similar ecological niches or environments.

Also Read: Fossils of 400 Year Old Invertebrate Marine Species Found in China

“The new fish is a most interesting example of convergent evolution, evolving — for bony fish then — a completely new way of life,” Kölbl-Ebert said. (VOA)

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Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula To Delete Tatar Collaboration From Crimean History Textbook

The pages that are to be removed include a claim that the majority of Crimean Tatars "were loyal to" the Nazis, and that "many actively helped them."

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Textbook
Russian Authorities To Remove Tatar Collaboration Slur From Crimean History Textbook RFERL

The Russian authorities who control Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula have promised to remove a section of a high-school history textbook that claims many Crimean Tatars collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II.

The senior education official in the Russian-imposed government of Crimea, Natalya Goncharova, said on May 6 that the pages in question would be removed from the 10th-grade textbook History Of Crimea by the end of the month.

Educators and lawyers — some of them members of the indigenous, mainly Muslim Crimean Tatar minority — have urged the authorities to remove the book from the curriculum, saying that it threatens to incite ethnic and religious hatred among teenagers.

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Russia seized control of the peninsula in March 2014, sending in troops without insignia, securing key facilities, and staging a referendum deemed illegitimate by Ukraine and most other world countries. Pixabay

The pages that are to be removed include a claim that the majority of Crimean Tatars “were loyal to” the Nazis, and that “many actively helped them.”

The claim echoes the pretext that Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s government used when it deported Crimean Tatars en masse from the Black Sea peninsula in 1944, asserting that they were collaborators.

Many died on the journey or in exile in Central Asia and the steppes of southern Russia.

study
The senior education official in the Russian-imposed government of Crimea, Natalya Goncharova, said on May 6 that the pages in question would be removed from the 10th-grade textbook History Of Crimea by the end of the month.Pixabay

Crimean Tatars were allowed to begin returning to their homeland in the late 1980s, and make up some 12 percent of its population.

Also Read: Concentration Camps: Uyghurs Chafed Under Tough Chinese Controls During Ramadan

Russia seized control of the peninsula in March 2014, sending in troops without insignia, securing key facilities, and staging a referendum deemed illegitimate by Ukraine and most other world countries.

Rights groups and Western governments say Russia has conducted a persistent campaign of oppression targeting Crimean Tatars and other citizens who opposed Moscow’s takeover of the peninsula. (RFERL)