Scientists think they have discovered the earliest known example of a squid-like creature assaulting its victim, discovered in a fossil going back nearly 200 million years.
The fossil was found on the Jurassic coast in Dorset in the 19 th century and is presently kept within the collections of the British Geological Study in Nottingham.
Brand-new analysis suggests it shows an animal, identified by scientists as a Clarkeiteuthis montefiorei, with a herring-like fish called Dorsetichthys bechei in its jaws.
Scientists state the position of the creature’s arms, along with the body of the fish, indicate it not being a quirk of fossilisation however instead the recording of an event.
They think it dates from the Sinemurian period – between 190 and 199 million years ago – implying it predates any formerly tape-recorded comparable sample by more than 10 million years.
Teacher Malcolm Hart, emeritus professor at the University of Plymouth, stated: “Since the 19 th century, heaven Lias and Charmouth Mudstone developments of the Dorset coast have actually supplied large numbers of essential body fossils that notify our knowledge of coleoid palaeontology.
” In many of these mudstones, specimens of palaeobiological significance have been found, especially those with the arms and hooks with which the living animals captured their prey.
” This, nevertheless, is a most unusual if not amazing fossil as predation occasions are only really periodically found in the geological record.
” It points to an especially violent attack which eventually appears to have actually triggered the death, and subsequent preservation, of both animals.”
The research study was led by the University of Plymouth and involved the University of Kansas, as well as Dorset-based company The Forge Fossils.
In the analysis, the authors say the fossilised remains suggest a brutal incident in which the head bones of the fish were crushed by its attacker.
They believe the fish may have been too big for the squid-like creature, or became stuck in its jaws – leaving the departed set settling to the seafloor where they were maintained.
Or, the Clarkeiteuthis may have taken its victim to the seafloor to prevent the possibility of being assaulted by another predator – suffocating as it got in waters low in oxygen.
The paper has been accepted for publication in Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association.
It will likewise exist as part of Sharing Geoscience Online, a virtual alternative to the tradition basic assembly held each year by the European Geosciences Union.