Frozen in time: Scientists discovered the 244-million-year-old frozen remains of three Peltoperleidus specimens in China.
Earlier this month, scientists made a groundbreaking discovery. They have found the frozen remains of three Peltoperleidus specimens in Chinese soil, which were estimated to be 244 million years old. These were the oldest fossils of the bony fish ever discovered, as per Daily Mail.
The fossils were found in Luoping, eastern Yunnan. It was the first time such remains were uncovered outside Europe.
What’s more, the recent discovery shows that the species lived 2 million years more than previously believed. According to previous findings, the Peltoperleidus lived 242 million years ago.
Speaking to the Global Times, Yu Min, a paleontologist with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, said:
“It is also a sign provided to us to further explore the paleogeographic allocation and distribution of the genus since we see it has been discovered in China when previously we only knew it existed in Europe.”
The prehistoric predatory fish lived during the early Ladinian stage of the Middle Triassic epoch.
However, unlike earlier species, Peltoperleidus had highly flexible dorsal and anal fins, with a reduced number of fin rays. This particular evolutionary progression is believed to have made the creature more agile in the water.
The study published in the scientific journal Peer J states:
“Similar to its relatives (represented by P. macrodontus) from Europe, P. asiaticus sp. nov. is likely a small-sized durophagous predator [eating behavior of animals that consume hard-shelled or exoskeleton bearing organisms] with dentition combining grasping and crushing morphologies.”
In 2009, Chinese scientists discovered the fossil of a Guiyu oneiros – the earliest known and most preserved bony fish to be found in China. It was determined to be 418 million years old.