John (bird whisperer)
New Species: "Rebel" Coelacanth Stalked Ancient Seas -
New Species: "Rebel" Coelacanth Stalked Ancient Seas
"A new species of killer coelacanth that stalked Triassic seas has been identified from museum fossils, researchers say. The coelacanth (pronounced SEE-la-kanth) is a type of primitive, slow-moving fish that was thought extinct until its rediscovery in 1938. The modern fish is sometimes called a living fossil, because it apparently existed largely unchanged for 320 million years. (See "Pictures: New 'Rebel' Coelacanth Found.") But the newfound animal, dubbed Rebellatrix, is bizarre compared with previously known coelacanths, living or extinct, said study leader Andrew Wendruff, a biologist at the University of Alberta in Canada. That's because all other known coelacanth species have broad tails designed to lunge short distances after prey, Wendruff said. By contrast, the 3-foot-long (0.9-meter-long) Rebellatrix had a massive, muscular tail built for chasing prey at high speeds, much like the tail of a modern-day tuna." - John (bird whisperer) from Bookmarklet
"The Rebellatrix fossils were collected in the 1950s and '80s on the rocky slopes of Wapiti Lake Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada. This area was the western coast of the supercontinent Pangaea at the time the new coelacanth lived. The specimens were stored at Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta and the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre in British Columbia. In 2009 Wendruff examined a Rebellatrix fossil from these collections, and at first "I didn't believe what I was seeing," he said. It was "only when I found a second, third, and fourth ... that I realized we had something real and something significant." Based on the recovered specimens, it seems Rebellatrix first appears in the fossil record about 250 million years ago—immediately after the Permian extinction, when 90 percent of life on Earth was snuffed out by an unknown cause. The massive loss of life "possibly left a gap in this lifestyle" of fast-moving ocean predators, allowing Rebellatrix to fill that role, speculated Wendruff. "Otherwise, we wouldn't expect the coelacanth to do this."" - John (bird whisperer)