Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Discovery of two new species of primitive fishes discovered

31.03.2015

Working with an international team, paleontologists at the University of Zurich have discovered two new species of Saurichthys. The ~242 million year old predatory fishes were found in the fossil Lagerstätte Monte San Giorgio, in Ticino. They are distinct from previously known Saurichthys species in the shape of the head and body, suggesting different habitats and diet.

Saurichthys is a predatory fish characterized by a long thin body and a sharply pointed snout with numerous teeth. This distinctive ray-finned fish lived in marine and freshwater environments all over the world 252–201 million years ago during the Triassic period.


Life reconstruction of Saurichthys in the ancient sea of Middle Triassic.

Picture: University of Zurich/B. Scheffold


Saurichthys rieppeli, a new species of bony fish from the Middle Triassic of Monte San Giorgio, UNESCO world heritage in Southern Switzerland (length 60 cm).

Picture: University of Zurich

Two new species of this extinct fish have been discovered by paleontologists at the University of Zurich, working in collaboration with researchers in Germany and China. The first species, «Saurichthys breviabdominalis», is named for its relatively short body and the second, «Saurichthys rieppeli», is named after Olivier Rieppel, a Swiss paleontologist formerly based at the University of Zurich.

Including the new finds, there are now six species of Saurichthys known from Monte San Giorgio, making it both the most abundant and diverse fish at this classic Middle Triassic locality.

Evidence of different diet and habitat

Both 40 to 60 cm long fishes differ from other species of Saurichthys in skull and body shape. “These differences indicate different hunting styles and habitats in the shallow sea. This enabled multiple species to co-exist”, clarified Heinz Furrer, paleontologist at the University of Zurich and author of this research project.

According to Furrer, the ability to occupy multiple specialized feeding and habitat niches may be responsible for the evolutionary success of these fishes, both in the Monte San Giorgio basin and globally.

Monte San Giorgio is world-renowned for its beautifully preserved fossils from the Middle Triassic time (~239–243 million years ago). Large-scale excavations conducted by the University of Zürich between 1924 and 2004 yielded a substantial number of fossil reptiles and fishes. As part of a research project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, scientists at the Paleontological Institute and Museum, University of Zurich have prepared and studied over a hundred well-preserved specimens over the last three years.

Reference:
Maxwell, E.E., Romano, C., Wu, F. & Furrer, H. 2014: Two new species of Saurichthys (Actinopterygii: Saurichthyidae) from the Middle Triassic of Monte San Giorgio, Switzerland, with implications for character evolution in the genus. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 173/4. doi: 10.1111/zoj.12224

Contacts:
Dr. Heinz Furrer
Paläontologisches Institut und Museum
Universität Zürich
Tel: +41 79 328 26 66
E-Mail: heinz.furrer-paleo@bluewin.ch

Dr. Erin Maxwell
Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde
Stuttgart
Tel. +49 711 8936 145
E-Mail: erin.maxwell@smns-bw.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.mediadesk.uzh.ch

Nathalie Huber | Universität Zürich

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>