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
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.
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
Dr. Heinz Furrer
Paläontologisches Institut und Museum
Tel: +41 79 328 26 66
Dr. Erin Maxwell
Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde
Tel. +49 711 8936 145
Nathalie Huber | Universität Zürich
Scientists call for improved technologies to save imperiled California salmon
14.12.2017 | NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region
Cardiolinc™: an NPO to personalize treatment for cardiovascular disease patients
14.12.2017 | Luxembourg Institute of Health
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
14.12.2017 | Life Sciences
14.12.2017 | Life Sciences
14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine