Tanyrhinichthys mcallisteri has a sturgeon-like shape with a long protruding snout that focuses the senses to help them catch prey.
Simulation of Tanyrhinichthys mcallisteri in the sea. (Photo: Penn).
Researchers led by Jack Stack, masters at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) and paleontologist Lauren Sallan at the Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences examined ancient fish named Tanyrhinichthys mcallisteri that lived 300 million years ago. in the estuary is now the state of New Mexico. Despite finding the fish to be very similar to sturgeon, especially the long protruding nose, the team determined that Tanyrhinichthys evolved in a direction different from today's sturgeon ancestors. They published their findings on June 22 on the Eurek Alert page.
Tanyrhinichthys's first fossil was found in 1984 at the Kinney Brick quarry, about half an hour east of Albuquerque. The first paleontologist to describe this species is researcher Michael Gottfried at the University of Michigan. According to Stack, the specimen looked like a fish with a muzzle stretch. Many modern fish species from swordfish to sailfish have a protruding muzzle, but this feature is more rare in ancient fish. Over the past decade, researchers have found several more samples of Tanyrhinichthys in the quarry.
At the time Tanyrhinichthys lived, the continents on Earth were joined together to form the Pangea supercontinent, surrounded by an ocean. In order to better understand the structure of Tanyrhinichthys, Stack, Sallan, et al., Examine the specimen details of this species and study more species living in the same period. They found Tanyrhinichthys has a long protruding muzzle with teeth below. Its shape resembles those of the bottom. Sallan also noticed the tubular structure on the fish's snout that could attach senses to allow it to detect vibrations to catch prey.