Sunday, 22 September 2013

Was leedsichthys problematicus the largest sea animal ever found?

A joint Scottish-Canadian team has verified the prehistoric sea animal leedsichthys problematicus is the largest boned fish ever to roam the seas of our world.

Growing to lengths of 16.5 metres over a projected development phase of 40 years, the Jurassic-era fish would have outgrown even today’s immense whale sharks. Despite its magnificent dimension, yet, leedsichthys is thought to have been a filter feeder, exactly like baleen whales, basking sharks and whale sharks are today.

Discovered from the late 19th century and formally named (after English farmer and fossil collector Alfred Leeds) in 1889, relics of leedsichthys have been unearthed all through Europe, and also in South America.

The ‘problematicus’ portion of its technical brand stems from the fact that leedsichthys fossils are notoriously hard to identify. This is due to a incontrovertible fact that leedsichthys’ skeleton #was not# made entirely of bone. Large portions #of the# animal’s internal structure were actually #made from# cartilage, just #as a# shark’s bone structure is. Cartilage #does not# mineralize as eagerly as bone and, as the result, fossil cartilage is a little bit rare.

Out of perspective, the fossilized bones can characterize a challenge to palaeontologists. Through the years, remains of leedsichthys have even been posited as belonging to bone-plated fossil stegosaurus!

Because leedsichthys vertebrae was cartilaginous, it may be very hard to see how long the fish may have been, with some unproven estimates suggesting that it’s as long as 30 metres.

Still, whenever a new, more absolute, fossil was found near Peterborough, UK, scientists were at last in a position to take an accurate measurement. Professor Jeff Liston, of the National Museum of Scotland, said, “We sat down and looked at a wide series of specimens, not just at the bones, but their inner development structures also – just like the growth rings in plants – to get some ideas with the ages of these animals, as well as their estimated dimensions,”

The team eventually determined that a little adult leedsichthys would grow to 8 or 9 metres after some 20 years and, in an additional twenty years; it could reach roughly 16.5 m in length. This is larger than the whale shark, the largest bony fish active now, despite persistent and credible reports of whale sharks developing as long as 14 m in length.

This information is exciting to scientists and natural history fanatics because it delivers a helpful insight into the adjustments in ocean life that occurred up to and through the Jurassic era.

Scientists now think that filter-feeding sea animals began as quite little animals, before increasing to the huge sizes we all know nowadays. The unbelievable size of leedishthys problematicus thus implies that there was a huge surge in the plankton populace of the Mesozoic oceans.

The invention also demands a major change to the records.


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