Have you seen these fantastic photos of animals hunting? One of these photos was taken 200 million years ago. Do not you think? Well, it's not exactly a photo. It is a fossil. The fossil of an octopus attacking its prey. They found it in an old Bitan Geological Survey collection in Nottingham. It was found on the Jura coast in southern England in the 19th century. It is the oldest known example in the world of an squid-like creature that attacks its prey. The scene was eternalized almost 200 million years ago.
A long long time ago
Researchers at the universities of Plymouth and Kansas carried out a new analysis. The old squid (Clarkeiteuthis montefiorei) seems to have a herring-like fish (Dorsetichthys bechei) in his jaws. As they explain, the position of the arms along with the body of the fish suggests that this is not an accidental mood of fossilization. It is a real paleobiological event.
It dates from the Sinemur period (190 to 199 million years ago). It would precede any similar sample that was previously recorded for more than 10 million years.
“The Blue Lias and Charmouth Mudstone mudstone formations on the Dorset coast have provided large amounts of fossils since the 19th century. Specimens of paleobiological importance have been found in many of these slates. Especially those with the limbs and claws with which living animals caught their prey. That explains Malcolm Hart, professor emeritus in Plymouth and lead author of the study.
An aggressive predator
However, this is a more unusual, if not exceptional, fossil. Predation events are very occasionally found in the geological record. Go for a particularly violent attack. Ultimately, it appears to have caused the death and subsequent conservation of both animals, "he says. The analysis shows a brutal incident in which the squid attacked the fish with its tentacles and crushed the bones in its head.
The researchers also propose two possible hypotheses to explain conservation. Maybe the fish was too big for his attacker. Or it remained trapped in its jaws until the dead couple settled on the ocean floor where they were kept.
It could also be that Clarkeiteuthis He brought his prey to the bottom of the sea in an exhibition where the distraction was lost. This prevented the possibility of being attacked by another predator. However, he got into oxygen-poor water and suffocated. But they are theories. The reality is that finding the octopus fossil that attacks its prey 200 million years ago is like finding a needle in an infinite haystack.