MILLION YEAR OLD flesh-eating piranha species found by scientists

Christopher Davidson
October 22, 2018

"It comes from a group of fishes that are famous for their crushing teeth", said Martina Kolbl-Ebert of Jura Museum. And indeed, this presumption of standing, the researchers wrote in their study, which appeared in the journal "Current Biology".

The fish, called Piranhamesodon pinnatomus, is well-preserved and comes from the same limestone layers that also yielded the famous Archaeopteryx - the famous transitional fossil between dinosaurs and modern birds.

"We have other fish from the same locality with chunks missing from their fins", marine biologist David Bellwood said. Because so far it is not thought that the animals at the time of the dinosaurs in the geological era Jurassic were still able to bite pieces from conspecifics. The ancient species is the earliest found example of a fish that ate flesh, ones that were found to attack other fish in the same areas as modern piranhas.

"It's a remarkably smart move as fins regrow, a neat renewable resource". Sharks have been able to bite out chunks of flesh but throughout history bony fishes have either fed on invertebrates or largely swallowed their prey whole.

After close inspection, the fossilised fish was found to have extremely strong jaws, revealing long, pointed and slightly curved teeth. "They show injuries to their fins and fin bases, some freshly wounded before they died and got fossilized, whereas others show completely healed injuries with regeneration of the fin", Kölbl-Ebert said. "Feed on a fish and it is dead; nibble its fins and you have food for the future".

The "remarkable" bony fish lived in the sea when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth and had teeth like a piranha, which it used to rip off chunks of flesh from other fish. This new discovery would seem to suggest that the same was true of similar fish going back 150 million years.

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The new species of bony fish had teeth like a piranha, which the researchers suggest they used as piranhas do: to bite off chunks of flesh from other fish.

Where do we find piranhas in the modern world? Her jaw, as shown by x-rays of fossils, was covered with five rows of sharp teeth, cinealoido had the characteristic shape found today among Amazonian piranhas. Their fossils were found with preserved shells and sea urchin spines in their guts. Some modern piranhas have been found in other parts of the world but these are believed to be pets that were released into waterways.

Scientists discovered on the territory of Bavaria, remains one of the first Land piranhas, whose teeth were designed for Stripping meat from the bones of fish, dinosaurs and other large animals of the Jurassic period.

They will eat nearly anything when hungry - and there have been fatal attacks on humans, including a six-year-old girl in Brazil three years ago.

This probably means Piranhamesodon would have approached and attacked unsuspecting fish, tearing away scales, fins and flesh, according to the study. Some say they are like a typical bony, white fish.

Either way, they are considered a relatively sustainable food, as the creatures are not overfished and are not now considered endangered by the IUCN.

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