Long before Cleveland was a city infamous for a cheating scandal involving it Light weights, it was a shallow ocean ruled by armored fish that weighed thousands of pounds. The best hunter alive can’t beat him DunkleosteusFish bony face It looked like a fanged electronic truck. The fish is one of the first vertebrate predators, with blade-like jaws that can bite through bone.
Although modern vertebrates either have skeletons made entirely of cartilage or entirely of bone, Dunkleosteus He had a little bit of both: a bony head and a mostly cartilaginous skeleton. This bizarre anatomy means that the fossil record is full Dunkleosteus Chiefs but no Dunkleosteus behind, so the rest of the fish’s body remains a mystery. Some scientists’ estimates have suggested that the ancient fish reached anywhere from 16 to 33 feet in length – much like modern whale sharks. But a new paper has been published in the journal diversity She suggests Dunkleosteus It was chunkier: a “mere” 11-foot-long fish whose body shape was less of a scary shark and more of a fatter fish.
When the newspaper hit Twitter, many old-fashioned artists took advantage of the opportunity Burpee fossil fish f embrace Its newly rounded shape. But outside experts have pointed out that the downsizing isn’t actually a huge departure from previous rebuilds. Sarah Z. said: Cloud State University in Minnesota, who was not involved in the new paper, Gibson, a paleontologist at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, said in an email: “It’s just a matter of taking the actual data to infer a more realistic pedigree for Dunkleosteus.” She added, “It’s still a big fish! We can’t take it away from her!”
“It’s still somewhat oval in shape, a little more squat than previously thought,” said James Boyle, a paleobiologist at the State University of New York at Buffalo who was not involved in the new research. Boyle finds the new paper’s proposal “quite defensible”, particularly given earlier reconstructions Dunkleosteus They were based on a less rigorous statistical analysis, he said.
The sole author of the new paper, Russell Engelman, is a graduate student at Case Western Reserve University whose previous research has focused largely on fossil mammals. But Engelman’s roots in Cleveland endeared him to the local fossils–a fascinating mix of arthropods, extinct armored fish that lived in the Devonian period more than 360 million years ago. “I knew Dunkleosteus For as long as I can remember,” Engelman wrote in an email.
The pandemic prevented Engelmann’s laboratory group from conducting field work outside or examining collections in major museums, so he sought out smaller projects. Fortunately, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, is home to some of the best preserved Dunkleosteus Skulls in the world, let him in. Engelman recalled chatting with Amanda McGee, the museum’s head of vertebrate paleontology collections, about one of the Dunkleosteus heads in the museum that have been suggested to have come from an 18-foot-long specimen. The estimate seemed suspicious. “A fish this big can’t fit in this room,” Engelman thought to himself.
Although fish remains were first discovered in 1867, most of what scientists know about this species comes from The work was published in 1932 by paleontologist Anatole Heinz, Naples added. The paper was so good, in fact, Napoli said, that “very few people have actually gone back and explored more about this organism, because it was so good.” “But now it’s been 90 years.”
Engelman knew current estimates of DunkleosteusIts size was based on the parts of the fish’s mouth. Try models based on head length, and expect the estimates to be similar to those produced by the mouth model. But the head estimates predicted a Dunkleosteus less than half the length. Engelman decided to use a specific modeling approach based on the fish’s orbital length, or OOL — roughly the distance between the eye and the gill chamber. This length often indicates the length of the body. Think of the piranha, which is a long, elegant fish with a long, smooth skull, or the piranha, which is a squishy fish with a short skull.
There will always be exceptions to this rule, Gibson said, such as long-snouted, short-bodied seahorses. But in general, this volume estimation strategy can be useful, particularly when there is no other data to dispose of, as is the case with Dunkleosteus. “Scientists will only be able to confirm the power of this new method until someone finds a full-body fossil Dunkleosteus She added that the cartilage is preserved.
Engelman applied the model to a large data set of modern fish, and Naples said he wishes the new paper contained more ancient organisms that happened to fossilize in full-body forms. “Modern things are only a small snapshot of the diversity of life as it was in Earth’s history,” Napoli said. “There’s been a lot of time for things to change and get weird, and maybe the sample we have today is quite biased relative to the arc of history.”
Engelman said he would have liked to include more data from fossil fish, but the pandemic has severely limited his access to it. “My biggest fear was that if the method didn’t work in the huge diversity of modern fish, it was very unlikely to work DunkleosteusEngelman said. He also added that arthropods such as DunkleosteusAlthough long extinct, they have body shapes more similar to living fish than some other groups, making them a safer test case for this method. Gibson said she would like to apply the method to the late Triassic fish she hunts to see if they follow this trend.
Extinct arthropods were long dismissed as an evolutionary offshoot—a strange group of fish that left no living relatives. But over the past 15 years, fossil discoveries have been made in southern China missing episodes among modern arthropods and bony fish such as sharks and rays, making the group more evolved than previously thought, Napoli said.
Good science is review work, and as my esteemed editor Barry once wrote, The most exciting thing about science is when we find out we were wrong. shrunken Dunkleosteus It does not significantly change our understanding of fossils; It changes our imaginations about the most dangerous fish, Gibson said. For other fossil fish, Dunkleosteus Napoli said he gets a lot of attention because of his reputation as a fearsome predator. This also affects the illustrations of the fish, which depict a fierce grin filled with jagged blades. But it is not clear if it was swimming Dunkleosteus It will even show its serrated blades. “She can seem quite docile,” Napoli said.
Besides, squatting does not mean idleness. the new Dunkleosteus Much like tuna, which I considered at least one protective group ocean ferrari, capable of passing through water at speeds of up to 43 miles per hour. Now that’s impressive! How quickly can Charles Leclerc running without his car? I, for one, feel glad that I live in an era Chunkleosteus– As scary as it is, twice as relevant.
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