A group of researchers has found the skull of an ancient fish, revealing that what were long thought to be spines were actually an elongated jaw. The animal known as AlencanthusIt lived about 375 million years ago, and was perhaps one of the strangest sea creatures of its time.
Alienacanthus and its extended jaw
375 million years ago, in the Devonian Period, the oceans were full of armored fish, known as placoderms. These primitive jawed animals had different shapes and sizes and Alienacanthus was one of them.
The fossil of this fish with long jaws was found for the first time in 1957 in Poland, and later more remains of the animal were found there and in Morocco. In the Late Devonian, these were submerged areas located on opposite sides of the ocean separating the northern and southern supercontinents.
However, most of these fossils that were found were just fragments that did not provide much information about what the fish looked like to researchers. Now in the new study recently published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, A skull measuring more than 60 senses was discovered in Morocco, providing more information about Alencanthus.
The new discovery revealed that what were thought to be spines were actually a jaw nearly twice the length of its skull, which likely gave… Alencanthus One of the most extreme bites of the period and stiffening of the lower lip. Researchers point out that this animal resembles an upside-down billfish, and has a long, beak-shaped lower jaw.
- One of the researchers' hypotheses regarding the function of this elongated jaw is that the fish used it to sift through sediment, just as half-beaked fish do today;
- Another possibility is that Alienacanthus used it to stun and injure prey.
- Another hypothesis is that the long jaw, full of curved teeth, combined with the upper jaw, may have served as a trap
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