They are four new prehistoric specimens from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods They were found in the Maule mountain region of central Chile. The 150-million-year-old fish are an unprecedented find in the Southern Hemisphere. It was discovered by a scientific team from the University of Chile.
The journals Cretaceous Research and Acta Palaeontologica Polonica detail it. These are four fishes The first, colloquially called “sabre-toothed fish”. The second is an as yet undetermined species of swordfish. The third is a tuna-like specimen with robust teeth. The last one is a rare red snapper.
150 million years ago, the Maule region was submerged beneath the ancient Pacific Ocean. Nearby is the Baños del Flaco Formation. It is a geological unit with abundant remains of mollusks and dinosaur footprints. This is where the discovery was made.
It is the oldest find of fossil remains of this type of fish in the Southern Hemisphere. Jurassic chimaeriform (cartilaginous) fishes were unknown in all of South America.
Little is known about this region’s past 150 million years ago. These fish join other findings that are outlining its prehistoric fauna. And they add to those in the nearby Algarrobo region. There are remains of marine reptilian vertebrates and cartilaginous fish (sharks, rays and chimaeras). Bony fish had been scarcely reported One of these fossil remains corresponds to Enchodus, (“saber-toothed”) because of its distinctive “caniniform” teeth.
Teeth referable to a Pachycormidae were recovered indeterminate. It is related to the “Cretaceous swordfish” of North America. “At present, we do not know what the general appearance of this form of Algarrobo may have been like. Its distinctive teeth closely resemble those of today’s barracuda. It must have been a medium-sized predator. It is a type of fish never before described in the Chilean Upper Cretaceous. We hope to find more complete remains,” says Otero. The 150-million-year-old fish will soon have company.