A repeated analysis of the fossils discovered in England in the 19th century reveals that he depicts 200-a million-year scene in which a squid-like creature still clings to its prey.
The fossil stores two extinct species: Clarkeiteuthis montefioreia Jurassic squid creature, and Dorsetichthys bechei, herring-like fish. C. montefiorei was an ancient cephalopod that resembled modern sepia. There was ink sack so he probably uses ink to escape predators like modern octopuses do it today, explained Malcolm Hart, the lead author of the new book and paleontologist at the University of Plymouth.
Hart and his colleagues say the fossil preserves an extremely rare scene of predation in which the arms of cephalopods are still wrapped around their preyMoreover, the head of the fish was sucked, more evidence of ancient struggle. Details of this analysis of fossil materials will be presented in a forthcoming edition of the Proceedings of the Proceedings of Geologists.
The fossil was found on the coast of Dorset, England, as early as the 19th century and has since been stored in a collection by the British Geological Survey in Nottingham.
“I track samples collected on the Dorset coast, both new and historical,” Hart tells Gizmodo. “This specimen was on loan from the British Geological Survey and at the Lyme Regis Museum, where it was studied. It is glued into a case and so can only be viewed or depicted, “because no other work can be done on the fossil material, such as isotopic or geochemical analyzes,” he said.
This is the oldest known fossil record, including diplobelid (the technical term for this squid cephalopod), which had preceded the previous record of 10 million years. The sediment in which this fossil was discovered dates from the Sinemurian era, about 190 million up to 199 million years.
“Predation is out of scale in terms of rare occurrence,” Hart says. “There are only very few specimens – between five and 10 – known from the Jurassic, and this is the only stratigraphic level in Dorset. He is also the oldest known in every part of the world. “
As to how the two creatures managed to preserve themselves in such an unusual way, Hart and his colleagues can only speculate.
“Hooks with hands clearly hold the fish, but why they survived to settle down to the seabed and then be preserved is exceptional,” Hart tells Gizmodo. “Why they were not eaten by others [animals] it is unknown. ”
That said, the authors presented two possible scenarios: Either the cephalopod died while trying to conquer the fish (because it was too big, for example), or died while trying to hide his eating from rivals, succumbing to low oxygen levels in the seabed. In both cases, the cephalopod and the fish settled on the muddy seabed, allowing them to be preserved.
The problem with low oxygen theory is that this scenario should rule out the presence of certain ones other instances, which is not the case. The fossil sediment has been found in contained fossils of other creatures in need dissolved oxygen to survive, Hart explained. After all, “we don’t know“How the two keep together,” he said.
The most analysis sheds new light on the anatomy of the diplobelids, such as the types of hooks they used, and proves that diplobelids fed on fish, as was theoretically earlier. Seeing the two together “helps create the picture,” Hart said.