A latest study paper has revealed that the cousins of today’s anchovies that lived 45 million years ago was bigger and had an impressive set of teeth. It had fangs on the lower jaw with a single upper “sabertooth”. During the Cretaceous extinction, when dinosaurs and other large predators went extinct. Then these fishes went through anatomical transformations and reinvented itself to survive believes the experts. Two fossils from the Clupeiform genus, Clupeopsis and Monosmilus found in Belgium and Pakistan were between 41 million and 54 million years old. The common feature was a single saber tooth on the upper jaw.
Researchers used micro–computed tomography to get high resolution images of the fish skulls. The images revealed rows of fangs on the fishes’ lower jaws and a pointy saber tooth on the upper jaw. The specimens also represent a previously unrecognized trophic innovation for Clupeiformes. This discovery highlights the extraordinary evolutionary tinkering that followed the end-Cretaceous extinction.
The findings are published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.