A giant fish that lived about 380 million years ago, fed in a similar way to sharks, is the second largest living shark in the world today, scientists say.
Titanichtis, a class of prehistoric fish called placoderma, was a suspension feeder – it trapped and swallowed food particles suspended in water.
The Titanichthys fossil, which was found in the Sahara Desert, confirmed that the creature had a narrow lower jaw without the sharp edges needed for cutting.
The fossils also showed that the creature’s jaw would not support the mechanical loads required for chewing and biting.
The jaws of the Titanichthys were less durable than those of other species of placoderms that fed on large or solid prey during the so-called Devonian period, 1
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Impression of the artist from Titanichtis, a giant armored fish that roamed the prehistoric oceans 380 million years ago
“We found that Titanichtis is very likely to be a suspension feed, which shows that its lower jaw is significantly less mechanically strong than those of other types of placoderms that feed on large or solid prey,” he said. lead author Sam Coitham at the Bristol School of Earth Sciences.
“Therefore, these feeding strategies – common among his relatives – would probably not be available to the Titanichthys.”
The genus Titanichthys has long been known as one of the largest animals of the Devonian period, probably exceeding 16 feet (five meters) in length.
Titanichthys fossils used in the study, as they were found in the Moroccan part of the Sahara Desert
PLACODERMS ARE COVERED WITH BRISTED TILES
Placoderm is any member of an extinct group (Placodermi) of armored and jawed fish.
Placodermi, which means “covered with a plate”, refers to the armored plates around its outer side.
Placoderms existed throughout the Devonian period, about 416 million to 359 million years ago.
During the Devonian, they were the dominant group, occurring on all continents except South America, in various marine and freshwater sediments.
Source: Encyclopedia Britannica
Although this is less than the length of today’s basketball shark – which reaches lengths of about 26 feet – both register a lower jaw over 3.2 feet (one meter).
“The lower jaw of the Titanicitis we examined was over three feet long and still slightly incomplete – so it was definitely big,” says Coitham.
Although Titanichthys is thought to be a suspension feeder, there is no evidence to date, the researchers said.
To learn more, the team uses Titanichtis fossils already found in the Moroccan part of the Sahara Desert by co-author Christian Klug, a German paleontologist at the University of Zurich.
The team used virtual simulations of Titanichthys to develop the biomechanics of its jaw and compare it to that of other species.
The team tested the endurance of the petrified jaws by applying force to assess the likelihood of each of them breaking or bending.
A shark (etorhinus maximus) off the island of Coll, Scotland. Studies show similar patterns of stress resistance between Titanichthys bone mechanisms and the shark that chases
Titanichthys’ lower jaw was much less resistant to stress and more likely to break than those of other types of placoderma, such as Dunkleosteus – which can quickly open and close its jaw to deliver a strong and fatal bite.
By the way, Duncleost would bite off the more obedient Titanichti, Coitham said.
“Titanichthys fossils have been observed with piercing scars caused by Dunkleosteus, a predator at the top and one of the few species that approaches the size of Titanichthys.”
“I suspect that Duncleost would be one of its only potential predators – similar to modern Basque sharks, preceded only by killer whales and potentially great white sharks.”
An armored fossil head of Duncleostay at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo. Duncleostay is the largest predatory armored fish of the Devonian period
The research team found that the Titanicti’s jaw probably could not withstand the higher stress associated with eating large prey, which exerts more mechanical load on the jaws.
Instead, he would swim slowly with his mouth wide open to capture high concentrations of plankton, a technique called “continuous ram feeding.”
Further analyzes comparing the distribution of stress through the jaws showed similar patterns in Titanichthys and the visiting shark.
Today’s sharks that fly are called so because they often look as if they are bathing in the sun, and whale sharks are both types of sharks that feed on filters.
Both modern species, which are the second and first largest fish species in the world, are listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List, respectively.
The similarities between these two modern species and the Titanics may help conservation efforts, the research team said.
“We suggest a link between ocean productivity and the evolution of the Titanic, but that needs to be studied in detail in the future,” Coitham said.
“An established connection can have implications for our understanding of the protection of modern power supplies.”
The study is published in the Royal Open Science Society.
SHIKE IS THE SECOND LARGEST FISH IN OUR OCEANS
The sharks that fly are the second largest fish alive after whale sharks.
Although they usually grow to 20-26 feet in length, they are known to reach striking lengths of up to 32 feet.
But these giants are relatively harmless to humans.
According to the NOAA (US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), they are considered passive and do not pose a danger to people other than their large size and rough skin. “
They feed on zooplankton, swimming slowly below the surface with their mouths open in a terribly wide view to filter small organisms from seawater.