Fossil Shark That Ate Fossil Amphibian That Ate Fossil Bony Fish discovered

This video says about itself:

One of the most dramatic and mysterious events in the history of life, the so-called “Great Dying” of animals and plants some 250 million years ago, continues to fascinate and baffle scientists. Of the five or so mass extinctions recorded in Earth’s fossils, this one at the end of the Permian period and the start of the Triassic was the most catastrophic.

From LiveScience:

There Once Was a Shark That Ate an Amphibian That Ate a Fish …

By Charles Q. Choi, Special to LiveScience

posted: 27 November 2007 07:33 am ET

A fossilized shark that swallowed a crocodile-like amphibian that, in turn, had gobbled up a fish has now been unearthed.

This exceptional find marks the first time scientists have found direct evidence of such a complex, extinct food chain.

In the past, researchers had uncovered evidence of what past species ate based on the fossilized contents of their guts or droppings. For instance, fossilized dung, or “coprolites,” have revealed some dinosaurs ate grass.

“Prey, especially in the gut or intestines of fossil organisms, are very rarely preserved,” said paleobiologist Jurgen Kriwet at Humboldt University of Berlin in Germany. At most, only a single victim or perhaps several of the same species are preserved, he added.

By accident, Kriwet and his colleagues discovered the new shark fossil in a museum collection. These exceptionally preserved remains are roughly 290 million years old, pre-dating the emergence of the dinosaurs.

The freshwater shark, some 20 inches (50 centimeter) long, dates back to the late Permian period, when the Saar-Nahe Basin in southwest Germany was peppered with short-lived lakes. In the shark’s gut were two young amphibians known as temnospondyls, each roughly 8 inches to 10 inches (20 to 25 centimeters) large.

“The temnospondyl was crocodile-like,” Kriwet said. “The temnospondyls in the gut of the shark were larvae. Their adult equivalents grew very big up to one meter (three feet), maybe more, and they occupied the niche that is occupied today by crocodiles in lakes.”

“Crocodiles were not around in the Permian,” he added. “They evolved much later.” The disappearance of the temnospondyls appears linked with the rise of the crocodiles, Kriwet explained.

In turn, one of the amphibians possessed the remains of a digested bony fish that was about four inches (10 centimeters) long during life. Adults of this fish grew up to 20 inches (50 centimeters) or more.

The remarkable fossils shed welcome new light onto the ancient world. For instance, “no other extinct or modern, living shark is known to feed on amphibians,” Kriwet told LiveScience.

Future research could help reconstruct ancient food webs “and might shed light on how modern food webs in aquatic systems arose.”

The findings were detailed online Oct. 30 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The shark is in the genus Triodus. It is Triodus sessilis. The bony fish is an acanthodian. It is Acanthodes bronni.

See also here.

Amphibians and evolution: here.

A new stereospondyl from the German Middle Triassic, and the origin of the Metoposauridae: here.

Salamander-like development in a seymouriamorph revealed by palaeohistology: here.


The world’s only animal, past or present, with a complete 360-degree spiral of teeth was Helicoprion, which sliced into prey like a buzz saw. This shark-like fish, which lived 270 million years ago, is described in the latest issue of Biology Letters. It had one of the most unusual mouths and sets of teeth in the animal kingdom: here.

Prehistoric sharks escaped mass extinction 252 million years ago by ‘seeking refuge in the depths of the ocean’: here.

22 thoughts on “Fossil Shark That Ate Fossil Amphibian That Ate Fossil Bony Fish discovered

  1. Public release date: 15-Jan-2009

    Contact: Martin Brazeau
    Uppsala University
    New piece in the jigsaw puzzle of human origins

    In an article in today’s Nature, Uppsala researcher Martin Brazeau describes the skull and jaws of a fish that lived about 410 million years ago. The study may give important clues to the origin of jawed vertebrates, and thus ultimately our own evolution.

    Ptomacanthus anglicus was a very early jawed fish that lived in the Devonian period some 410 million years ago. It represents a type of fossil fish known as an “acanthodian” which is characterized by a somewhat shark-like appearance and sharp spines along the leading edges of all fins (except for the tail fin). This group of early jawed fishes may reveal a great deal about the origin of jawed vertebrates (a story that ultimately includes our own origins). However, their relationships to modern jawed vertebrates (and thus their evolutionary significance) are poorly understood, owing partly to the fact that we know very little about their internal head skeleton.

    “To date, we have detailed data from one genus Acanthodes, which occurred very late in acanthodian history”, Martin Brazeau says.

    I present details on the morphology of the braincase of Ptomacanthus, which is more than 100 million years older than Acanthodes. It is a radically different morphology from Acanthodes, which has several important implications for the relationships of acanthodians. The braincase of Acanthodes appears to most closely resemble that of early bony vertebrates, the lineage that ultimately includes humans and other land-living vertebrates). For this reason, the acanthodians were thought to share a closer ancestor with bony vertebrates than with sharks. However, the braincase of Ptomacanthus more closely resembles that of early shark-like fishes, and shares very few features in common with Acanthodes and the bony vertebrates.

    “As a consequence, the results indicate that Ptomacanthus was either a very early relative of sharks, or close to the common ancestry of all modern jawed vertebrates”


    For more information, please contact Martin Brazeau, tel: 018-471 26 35 or


  2. Pingback: Fossil alligator discovery in Japan | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Shark conservation in Arab and Pacific countries | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Devonian era animals and plants | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: Hong Kong shark fin trade declining | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: 15-million-year-old snaggletooth shark discovery in Maryland, USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  7. Pingback: Sharks, 450 million years ago till today | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  8. Pingback: Fish sticking to sharks, video | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  9. Pingback: White killer whale seen again | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  10. Pingback: Ancient placoderm fish, new discovery | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  11. Pingback: Ancient sea scorpions, new research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  12. Pingback: Dinosaur age caecilian amphibian ancestor discovered? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  13. Pingback: Dinosaur age ‘alga’, ‘squid’ fossil is really a fish | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  14. Pingback: Shark evolution video | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  15. Pingback: Dinosaurs became extinct, sharks survived | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  16. Pingback: Megalodon sharks, film fiction and reality | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  17. Pingback: Dinosaur age predatory fish discovery | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  18. Pingback: Prehistoric sharks of central North America | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  19. Pingback: Canadian fossil fish discovery | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  20. Pingback: Why Megalodon sharks were so big | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  21. Pingback: Fossil sharks, rays discovery in Madagascar | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  22. Pingback: Prehistoric sharks invented suction feeding, new research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.