A piranha-like Pycnodontiform fish from the Late Jurassic

Kölbl-Ebert, Martina, Ebert, Martin, Bellwood, David R., and Schulbert, Christian (2018) A piranha-like Pycnodontiform fish from the Late Jurassic. Current Biology, 28 (21). pp. 3516-3521.

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Pycnodontiformes are an extinct order of ray-finned fishes from the Triassic to Eocene [1, 2] , with a characteristic crushing dentition reflecting a highly specialized diet [3] . However, our discovery of a new pycnodontiform from the Late Jurassic (ca. 152 Ma) Plattenkalk deposits of the Solnhofen Archipelago revealed long, pointed teeth along the vomer and triangular teeth with cutting edges along the prearticulars. This is the earliest evidence of specialized flesh cutting in a ray-finned fish. The dentition pattern, tooth shape, jaw morphology, and mechanics are all indicative of a feeding apparatus suitable for slicing flesh or fins, thus pioneering a new ecological niche. Evidence suggests that it may have exploited aggressive mimicry in a striking parallel to the feeding patterns of modern piranha. Remarkably, fossil fishes recovered from the same deposits as the new pycnodontiform show injuries to fins and fin bases. As a marine piranha-like fish contemporary with dinosaurs, it is the oldest known flesh-eating actinopterygian, revealing remarkable convergent evolution with modern piranhas.

Item ID: 56441
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-0445
Keywords: Pycnodontiformes; Piranhamesodon; Late Jurassic; Solnhofen Archipelago; piranha-like dentition; convergent evolution; aggressive mimicry; functional morphology; marine fishes; predation
Copyright Information: © 2018 Elsevier Ltd.
Funders: Volkswagen Foundation (VF), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: VF project no. I/84 636, DFG IDES: Ko 1682/5–1, ARC grant no. CE140100020
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2018 09:51
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3104 Evolutionary biology > 310412 Speciation and extinction @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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