QUITE A CATCH! Scientists discover 52-foot fish
Prehistoric Leedsichthys fish weighed more than two busses
For the fishermen out there, netting a prehistoric Leedsichthys fish would have been quite a catch! Living 160 million years ago, the gigantic Leedsichthys fish could have grown as large as 52 feet and weighed more than two busses.
Living 160 million years ago, the gigantic Leedsichthys fish could have grown as large as 52 feet and weighed more than two busses.
Researchers from the University of Bristol believe the bony fish could grow to around nine meters in 20 years. After 38 years, the fish could reach 16.5 meters long, outgrowing today's whale sharks.
Leedsichthys means "Leeds" "fish," after the fossil collector Alfred Nicholson Leeds, who discovered it in 1886 near Peterborough, England.
It's theorized that the Leedsichthys was a filter-feeder that swam the Mesozoic seas for over 100 million years, from the middle Jurassic until the end of the Cretaceous period.
Fossils discovered piecemeal in the 19th Century were believed to be so fragmented that they were difficult to identify, meaning that researchers were unable to determine the fish's length.
Piecing these samples together, University of Bristol researchers have been able to tell how long the creature was by the position of its gills. It was difficult to work out the fish's exact length because fossils were only found in small fragments.
The fish is believed to have weighed 21.5 tons, the same as three African elephants. The leviathan of the deep had a life expectancy of around 40 years and had an enormous mouth which acted as a "hoover" to suck up thousands of small fish including shrimps and jellyfish.
"Leedsichthys skeletons preserve poorly, often only as isolated fragments, so previous size estimates were largely historical arm-waving exercises," Professor Jeff Liston of the University of Kunming in China says.
"The existence of these large suspension-feeding fish at this time is highly significant as it would seem to be clear evidence of a major change in plankton populations in the oceans of Jurassic Earth.
"This has implications for our understanding of biological productivity in modern oceans and how that productivity has changed over time.
"We looked at a wide range of specimens, not just the bones but also their internal growth structures - similar to the growth rings in trees - to get some idea about the ages of these animals as well as their estimated sizes," Liston says.
"One of the truly fascinating aspects of this fish as a suspension feeder is that it seems to have developed a unique mesh structure on its gills to help it extract plankton as the seawater passed through its mouth.
"Extremely delicate and rarely-preserved, it resembles the honeycomb pattern in a bee-hive. It functioned like a trawler's net to trap plankton, and obviously was very effective, given the large sizes this animal achieved.
"This mesh structure is very different to what we see in today's suspension-feeding fish and whales. It had a unique way of solving a similar problem."
The longest living bony fish is the Oarfish which can grow up to 55 feet in length.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Green News
- Report urges policymakers to ignore long-term climate change threats and focus on 'abrupt' changes instead
- When you gotta go, you gotta go: Prehistoric dinosaur toilet discovered in Argentina
- Isn't this just the cutest dinosaur EVER?
- Climate change a myth? Not for these places!
- $280 million pledged by nations to halt deforestation
- ERUPTION: Japan the proud papa of a brand new island
- Ancient seawater was TWICE as salty as it is today, scientists learn
- UGLY! Extremely rare fish nabbed for second time ever near Canada
- Half-a-million years-old viruses found in modern human DNA
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?