Sunday, 22 September 2013

Scientists Establish Size of Largest Ever Fish

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

Increasing to lengths of 16.5 m over a projected increase period of 40 years, the Jurassic-era fish would have outgrown even today’s immense whale sharks. Even with its imposing dimension, however, leedsichthys is believed to have been a filter feeder, exactly like baleen whales, basking sharks and whale sharks are now.

Found from the late 19th century and formally named (after British farmer and fossil collector Alfred Leeds) in 1889, remnants of leedsichthys have been unearthed right through Europe, as well as in South America.

The ‘problematicus’ part of its scientific brand stems through the indisputable fact that leedsichthys fossils are notoriously tricky to identify. That is due to a proven 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 willingly as bone and, as the result, fossil cartilage is fairly rare.

Out of perspective, the fossilized bones can characterize a problem 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 complex to see how long the fish may have been, with some unconfirmed estimates signifying that it was as long as 30 m.

Nonetheless, each time a new, more complete, fossil was discovered near Peterborough, UK, scientists were at last in a position to acquire an accurate measurement. Professor Jeff Liston, of the National Museum of Scotland, said, “We sat down and checked out a good series of specimens, not only at the bones, but their inner growth structures as well – just like the expansion rings in trees – to get some ideas about the ages of these animals, in addition to their estimated dimensions,”

The team ultimately resolute that a small adult leedsichthys would grow to eight or 9 m after some 20 years and, in an additional two decades; it could achieve approximately 16.5 m in length. This is bigger than the whale shark, the biggest bony fish active today, despite persistent and credible reports of whale sharks growing as long as 14 metres in length.

This information is thrilling to scientists and natural history fans because it offers a useful insight into the alterations in ocean life that occurred up to and during the Jurassic era.

Scientists now think that filter-feeding fish started as moderately tiny animals, before growing to the huge sizes we all know nowadays. The outstanding size of leedishthys problematicus thus implies that there was a massive surge in the plankton populace of the Mesozoic oceans.

The discovery also requires a significant change to our records.