93 million years in the past, weird, winged sharks swam within the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This newly described fossil species, known as Aquilolamna milarcae, has allowed its discoverers to erect a brand new household. Like manta rays, these ‘eagle sharks’ are characterised by extraordinarily lengthy and skinny pectoral fins paying homage to wings. The specimen studied was 1.65 metres lengthy and had a span of 1.90 metres.
Aquilolamna milarcae had a caudal fin with a well-developed superior lobe, typical of most pelagic sharks, comparable to whale sharks and tiger sharks. Thus, its anatomical options thus give it a chimeric look that mixes each sharks and rays.
With its massive mouth and supposed very small tooth, it should have ate up plankton, based on the worldwide analysis staff led by Romain Vullo of the CNRS.
Scientists have recognized just one class of enormous plankton feeders in Cretaceous seasuntil now: a gaggle of enormous bony fish (pachycormidae), which is now extinct. Because of this discovery, they now know second group, the eagle sharks, was additionally current within the Cretaceous oceans.
The entire specimen was present in 2012 in Vallecillo (Mexico), a locality yielding remarkably preserved fossils. This web site, already well-known for its many fossils of ammonites, bony fish and different marine reptiles, is most helpful for documenting the evolution of oceanic animals.
In addition to shedding mild on the construction of Cretaceous marine ecosystems, the invention of eagle sharks reveals a brand new, hitherto unsuspected, side of sharks’ evolutionary historical past.