Fish Tale — It Really Was This Big

Bonnericthys, named for the Kansas family which discovered the fossil (Robert Nicholls, University of Oxford)

Scientists from as far afield as Fort Hays State University and the University of Kansas here in our own state and Oxford University in the UK have unearthed evidence that gigantic plankton-eating fishes roamed prehistoric seas during the age of the dinosaurs, and disappeared almost simultaneously with those beasts at the end of the Cretaceous period 65 million years ago.

During the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, these giant fish filled the ecological niche of such creatures as baleen whales and basking sharks. Much of the most important fossil evidence for these giants of the deep comes from layers of sedimentary rock in Kansas.

To learn more about this important new discovery, which resolves a major outstanding question about primordial ocean ecology, see Fossils Net Plankton-Eating Giant at the University of Oxford’s website. The item includes a fascinating 3-minute video on “Giant Plankton-Eating Fish” with Dr. Matt Friedman, which features the rollout illustration of the fin of one of these enormous filter-feeding fish, a fossil found right here in Kansas.

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Published in: on March 12, 2010 at 2:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

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