Researchers just recently found an uncommon and crucial hagfish fossil that consists of traces of maintained slime dating to 100 million years earlier.
Eyeless, jawless hagfish– still around today– are unusual, eel-like, carrion-eating fishes that lick the flesh off dead animals utilizing their spiky tongue-like structures. However their most widely known function is the sticky slime that they expel for security.
And now, researchers understand that hagfish slime is robust enough to leave traces in the fossil record, discovering amazing proof in a fossilized hagfish skeleton excavated in Lebanon. This brand-new discovery is likewise triggering scientists to redefine the hagfish’s relationship to other ancient fish and to all animals with foundations. [Photos: The Freakiest Looking Fish]
Hagfish fossils are limited, and this specimen– an “indisputable fossil hagfish”– is incredibly detailed with great deals of soft tissue protected, researchers reported in a research study released online today (Jan. 21) in the journal Procedures of the National Academy of Sciences(PNAS).
The fossil dates to the late Cretaceous p eriod(1455 million to 65 million years ago), and steps 12 inches (31 centimeters) in length. Scientist called it Tethymyxine tapirostrum: Tethymyxine originates from “Tethys” (referencing the Tethys Sea) and the Latinized Greek word “myxnios,” which indicates “slimy fish.” Tapirostrom equates as “snout of a tapir,” and describes the fish’s lengthened nose, the research study authors composed.
” A swimming sausage”
Hagfish have actually been around for about 500 million years, yet there is beside no trace of them as fossils, mostly since their long, sinuous bodies do not have difficult skeletons, stated lead research study author Tetsuto Miyashita, a postdoctoral fellow with the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago.
” Essentially, it resembles a swimming sausage,” Miyashita informed Live Science. “It’s a bag of skin with a great deal of muscles in it. They do not have any bones or difficult teeth inside them, so it’s truly challenging for them to get protected into the fossil record.”