During excavations in the open lignite-mining pit Na Duong in Vietnam, a joint team from the University of Tübingen and the Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment Tübingen discovered the world’s oldest bighead carp. With a length of only 5 centimeters, Planktophaga minuta is also the smallest known fossil representative of this East Asian group. Modern bighead carp are among the largest members of the carp family, reaching a length of up to 1.5 meters and a weight of 50 kilograms.
Since 2008, an international research team led by Prof. Dr. Madelaine Böhme from the Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment (HEP) of the University of Tübingen has been studying prehistoric ecosystems and fossils in Vietnam.
In the course of this research the scientists discovered approximately 37 million-year-old sediments from Lake RhinChua, dating to the late Eocene. These freshwater sediments contained a wealth of fossilized animals and plants; hence, Lake RhinChua is also referred to as the “Asian Messel” by the researchers.
During their studies the team discovered teeth belonging to an entirely new genus and species of fish: The oldest known bighead carp, Planktophaga minuta, is a representative of the “East Asian group of Leuciscinae.”
With a length of ca. 5 centimeters it is the smallest fossil representative of this East Asian group, and a mere dwarf compared to its modern living relatives. Modern bighead carp are among the largest members of the carp family. They grow up to a length of 1.5 meters and can weigh in at 50 kilograms.
Planktophaga minuta and its relatives
Besides Planktophaga minuta (which translates to small plankton eater), an additional six species of carp have been discovered in Lake RhinChua. All of them have living relatives that are still found today in China’s Pearl and Yangtze River system. This is proof that the roots of the modern freshwater fish fauna in Southeast Asia reach far into the past.
Bighead carp in exile
Originally, the bighead carp was native to the larger rivers and stagnant water bodies of southern China. During the 1960s, bighead carp were introduced in Europe, including Germany, as a means to control aquatic plants. Only later did researchers discover that the bighead carp failed to “fulfill this task,” since they mainly feed on animal plankton. In Europe, introduced bighead carp can be found in ponds, lakes and occasionally in streams and rivers.
Böhme, M. et al.; Na Duong (northern Vietnam) – an exceptional window into Eocene ecosystems from Southeast Asia, ZittelianaA 53, 120 A 5 (2014).
Prof. Dr. Madeleine Böhme
Department of Geosciences
Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment
(currently away on expedition)
Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung
Phone 069- 7542 1444
University of Tübingen
Phone 07071 – 29-76789
Dr. Sören Dürr | Senckenberg
How much biomass grows in the savannah?
16.02.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Canadian glaciers now major contributor to sea level change, UCI study shows
15.02.2017 | University of California - Irvine
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering
17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering
17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine