Pterosaurs missed the ancient squid

The tooth embedded in the fossil of a squid that lived 150 million years ago is evidence of a failed lizard's hunting attack. The res...


The tooth embedded in the fossil of a squid that lived 150 million years ago is evidence of a failed lizard's hunting attack.

The researchers found that the winged lizard Rhamphorhynchus muensteri flew close to the water to catch the ancient squid. But it lost its tooth during hunting. According to a report published in Scientific Reports.
Winged lizards appeared on Earth some 228 million years ago. They became extinct about 66 million years ago, around the same time as the dinosaurs. More than 100 species of winged lizards once lived on the planet, some of the largest having wingspan of up to 9.8 meters.


Winged lizards lose their teeth while hunting squid. Photo: Newsweek.

The team found the fossil of Plesioteuthis squid in a lagoon on the Solnhofen archipelago, Germany, a decade ago.
This creature lived 150 - 155 million years ago. Due to its soft body structure, Plesioteuthis ink has very little fossils. However, thanks to the high salt content and low oxygen concentration in the area, the squid is perfectly preserved.

"Under normal conditions, 99% of dead ink decomposes without leaving any noticeable trace," said researchers René Hoffmann at Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany and Jordan Bestwick at the University. Leicester, England, said.

Evidence of failed hunting is rare in fossil records. But it plays an essential role in helping to rebuild the extinct food web.
Analysis of Plesioteuthis squid fossils shows that winged lizards attack prey in the water or close above. However, it is unclear whether the lesioteuthis died after the attack or survived the broken tooth embedded in it.

According to Hoffmann and Bestwick, winged lizards do not kill prey from the first bite. The evidence revealed a drastic response to the squid's escape.
They explain that Rhamphorhynchus may not glide through the surface of water like birds do today or dive like a sea. Instead, they grab prey from the water surface during flight.

The finding shows that winged lizards are predators, not scavengers. The research team also stressed that unless similar evidence was found, the possibility of Plesioteuthis squid with mistakenly confused with another food could not be ruled out.

References from Newsweek
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High Tech Brain: Pterosaurs missed the ancient squid
Pterosaurs missed the ancient squid
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