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Paleontologija

Ihtiosaurova poslednja večera: Četiri metra dug morski grabljivac pronađen u stomaku drevne životinje

Smatra se da su reptili slični delfinima, poznati kao ihtiosauri birali manji plen. Međutim novootkriveni fosil sugeriše da su oni možda bili rani "megapredatori" mezozojske ere.

Izvor: Ihtiosaurusi, ilustracija; Foto: Shuttestock

Pre oko 240 miliona godina, ogromni vodeni reptil progutao je drugog, nešto manje masivnog reptila, a nedugo zatim umro. Veliko stvorenje, nalik delfinu, poznato kao ihtiosaur, potom se fosilizovalo zajedno sa manjom životinjom u stomaku, piše National Geographic.

Dva reptila bila su zarobljena u kamenu sve do 2010. godine, kada su naučnici iz Kine počeli sa iskopavanjem i istraživanjem fosila. Naučnici sada tvrde da sve što smo milslili da znamo o praistorijskom okenu može biti drugačije.

U jedinstvenom fosilu, manje stvorenje u trbuhu ihtiosaura bio je talatosaur, drevni morski reptil, dugog mršavog tela, koji je više ličio na guštera nego na ribu. 

Kada je Riosuke Motani, paleontolog sa Kalifornijskog univerziteta u Dejvisu, shvatio da u stomaku ihtiosaura dugog gotovo 5 metara postoji skoro kompletan torzo talatosaura dugog gotovo 4 metra (3,96m), znao je da njegov tim stoji ispred nečeg revolucionarnog. Studija koja opisuje fosil objavljena je 20. avgusta u časopisu iScience.

Ihtiosauri su disali vazduh i rađali su žive mlade. Neke vrste, poput Guizhouichthiosaurusa rasle su i do dužine današnjeg plavog kita, dok je ovaj kog je istraživao Motani bio manji, dužine oko 5 - 6 metara. Smatra se da su ovi drevni plivači lovili glavonišce nalik lignjama, koristeći usta puna tupih zuba. 

U stvari, ni za jednu od vodenih životinja koje su živele u to vreme nije se smatralo da su lovile veliki plen; verovalo se da se takvo ogromno "morsko čudovište" razvilo kasnije. Ali, kako kaže Motani, novootkriveni fosil sugeriše da su rani ihtiosauri bili među prvim "megapredatorima" mezozojske ere. "Neki od njih su se hranili životinjama većim od ljudi", kaže on.

Author: Da-Yong Jiang Description: Ferrari Press Agency Ref 12078 Last meal 1 21/08/2020 See Ferrari text Pictures MUST credit: Da-Yong Jiang, et al, iScience The fossil of a giant marine reptile from the time of the dinosaurs has been found – with the contents of its last meal still in the stomach.Around 240 million years ago, a dolphin-like ichthyosaur ripped to pieces and swallowed another marine reptile only a little smaller than itself. Then it almost immediately died and was fossilized, preserving the first evidence of megapredation, or a large animal preying on another large animal. The fossil, discovered in 2010 in southwestern China, is described in a paper published in the journal iScience.The ichthyosaurs were a group of marine reptiles that appeared in the oceans about 250 million years ago. They had fishlike bodies similar to modern tuna, but breathed air like dolphins and whales. Like modern orcas or great white sharks, they may have been apex predators of their ecosystems, but until recently there has been little direct evidence of this.A specimen of the ichthyosaur Guizhouichthyosaurus was discovered in Guizhou province, China, in 2010, with a large bulge of other bones within the animal’s abdomen. On examination, they identified the smaller bones as belonging to another marine reptile, Xinpusaurus xingyiensis. OPS:Graphic showing how the ichthyosaur swallowed its prey (top), the fossiled stomach contents (centre) and the section of the Xinpusaurus xingyiensis prey (bottom) that had been swallowed. Picture supplied by Ferrari Software:Adobe Photoshop Elements 13.0 (Macintosh) Created: 2020:08:21 10:22:02
Izvor: Profimedia/Shutterstock

Foto: Profimedia

Sklapanje događaja koji su se dogodili pre nekoliko stotina miliona godina, u jedinstvenu sliku, dolazi sa nekoliko izazova. Jedan od prvih za Motanija i njegov tim, bilo je da dokažu da je ihtiosaur zapravo pojeo talatosaura, a ne da se manji gmizavac jednostavno fosilizovao preko ihtiosaura, sasvim slučajno. "Srećom, u ovom slučaju, postoji način da se to lakše dokaže", kaže on. Kavez od rebara ihtiosaura obavio se oko tela talatosaura, što ukazuje na to da je ovaj drugi bio obrok. Nakon što su ovo dokazali, bilo je potrebno dokazati da li je talatosaur bio plen ili ga je ihtiosaur pojeo nakon što je ovaj umro od nečeg drugog.

Author: Da-Yong Jiang Description: Ferrari Press Agency Ref 12078 Last meal 1 21/08/2020 See Ferrari text Pictures MUST credit: Da-Yong Jiang, et al, iScience The fossil of a giant marine reptile from the time of the dinosaurs has been found – with the contents of its last meal still in the stomach.Around 240 million years ago, a dolphin-like ichthyosaur ripped to pieces and swallowed another marine reptile only a little smaller than itself. Then it almost immediately died and was fossilized, preserving the first evidence of megapredation, or a large animal preying on another large animal. The fossil, discovered in 2010 in southwestern China, is described in a paper published in the journal iScience.The ichthyosaurs were a group of marine reptiles that appeared in the oceans about 250 million years ago. They had fishlike bodies similar to modern tuna, but breathed air like dolphins and whales. Like modern orcas or great white sharks, they may have been apex predators of their ecosystems, but until recently there has been little direct evidence of this.A specimen of the ichthyosaur Guizhouichthyosaurus was discovered in Guizhou province, China, in 2010, with a large bulge of other bones within the animal’s abdomen. On examination, they identified the smaller bones as belonging to another marine reptile, Xinpusaurus xingyiensis. OPS:An image showing a close-up of the ichthyosaur stomach area containing its last meal Picture supplied by Ferrari Software:Adobe Photoshop Elements 13.0 (Macintosh) Created: 2020:08:21 10:23:17
Izvor: Profimedia/Shutterstock

Foto: Profimedia

Unutar ihtiosaura, Motani i njegove kolege veruju da su pronašle dva duga netaknuta niza pršljenova talatosaura. Ove fosilizovane kosti ukazuju na to da je kičma i dalje držala tkiva kada je progutana.

U sadržaju stomaka se ne nalaze lobanja i rep talatosaura. Iako je tim otkrio rep talatosaura u blizini ihtiosaura, nemaju načina da dokažu da pripada istoj životinji.

Tim procenjuje da je ihtiosaur napao i ubio talatosaura na provršini vode, a onda, poput aligatora, pokušao da ga proguta u velikim komadima.

Kako paleontolozi gotovo nikada nisu u prilici da vide kako je izgledao neki praistorijski obrok, često se oslanjaju na izgled zuba drevnih životinja, kako bi otkrili čime se životnja hranila. Ihtiosauri su imali tupe, kupasto oblikovane zube koji nisu nagoveštavali da bi mogli biti grabljivci, za koje se tradicionalno vezuju dugi oštri zubi.

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Novootkriveni fosil sugeriše da naučnici ne mogu uvek da se oslanjaju samo na oblik zuba kako bi pretpostavili šta je neka vrsta moglada jede, kaže Stepen Brusate, paleontolog sa Univerziteta u Edinburghu u Velikoj Britaniji koji nije bio uključen u studiju. Umesto da jedu samo glavonošce, neki rani ihtiosauri možda su bili dovoljno hrabri da krenu na"obilnije" obroke.

Author: Da-Yong Jiang Description: Ferrari Press Agency Ref 12078 Last meal 1 21/08/2020 See Ferrari text Pictures MUST credit: Da-Yong Jiang, et al, iScience The fossil of a giant marine reptile from the time of the dinosaurs has been found – with the contents of its last meal still in the stomach.Around 240 million years ago, a dolphin-like ichthyosaur ripped to pieces and swallowed another marine reptile only a little smaller than itself. Then it almost immediately died and was fossilized, preserving the first evidence of megapredation, or a large animal preying on another large animal. The fossil, discovered in 2010 in southwestern China, is described in a paper published in the journal iScience.The ichthyosaurs were a group of marine reptiles that appeared in the oceans about 250 million years ago. They had fishlike bodies similar to modern tuna, but breathed air like dolphins and whales. Like modern orcas or great white sharks, they may have been apex predators of their ecosystems, but until recently there has been little direct evidence of this.A specimen of the ichthyosaur Guizhouichthyosaurus was discovered in Guizhou province, China, in 2010, with a large bulge of other bones within the animal’s abdomen. On examination, they identified the smaller bones as belonging to another marine reptile, Xinpusaurus xingyiensis. OPS:An image showing the ichthyosaur's skull and teeth. The highighted area is shown enlarged in another image. Picture supplied by Ferrari Software:Adobe Photoshop Elements 13.0 (Macintosh) Created: 2020:08:21 10:18:41
Izvor: Profimedia/Shutterstock

Foto: Profimedia

Author: Da-Yong Jiang Description: Ferrari Press Agency Ref 12078 Last meal 1 21/08/2020 See Ferrari text Pictures MUST credit: Da-Yong Jiang, et al, iScience The fossil of a giant marine reptile from the time of the dinosaurs has been found – with the contents of its last meal still in the stomach.Around 240 million years ago, a dolphin-like ichthyosaur ripped to pieces and swallowed another marine reptile only a little smaller than itself. Then it almost immediately died and was fossilized, preserving the first evidence of megapredation, or a large animal preying on another large animal. The fossil, discovered in 2010 in southwestern China, is described in a paper published in the journal iScience.The ichthyosaurs were a group of marine reptiles that appeared in the oceans about 250 million years ago. They had fishlike bodies similar to modern tuna, but breathed air like dolphins and whales. Like modern orcas or great white sharks, they may have been apex predators of their ecosystems, but until recently there has been little direct evidence of this.A specimen of the ichthyosaur Guizhouichthyosaurus was discovered in Guizhou province, China, in 2010, with a large bulge of other bones within the animal’s abdomen. On examination, they identified the smaller bones as belonging to another marine reptile, Xinpusaurus xingyiensis. OPS:An image showing the teeth of the ichthyosaur. The white line indicates the gum line. Picture supplied by Ferrari Software:Adobe Photoshop Elements 13.0 (Macintosh) Created: 2020:08:21 10:16:27
Izvor: Profimedia/Shutterstock

Foto: Profimedia

Fosilizovani sadržaji u stomaku su izuzetno retki, kaže Džesika Lorens Vujek, geološkinja i paleontološkinja sa Hovard Communiti College u Merilendu koja nije bila uključena u studiju. Lorens Vujek pregledala je na stotine uzoraka ihtiosaura i kaže da su možda jedan ili dva imali fosilizovan sadržaj želuca, koji se nazivaju bromali. 

"Ne očuva se baš često sadržaj stomaka, posebno ne velik kao što je ovaj", kaže Lorens Vujek. "To je sjajan fosil."

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