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New Fossil Fish Had Unique 'Hook-Shaped Sail' On Its Back

Feb 24, 2016 02:22 PM EST
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A new dinosaur era fish was recently found in a collection displayed at Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas. Researchers say this 5.5-foot-long fossil fish possessed a tuna-like body and a unique "hook-shaped sail" on its back. 

"At first glance, the specimen looked like a known Pentanogmius species, but when I began to trace the curved dorsal fin, its front half kept extending backwards far beyond where I thought it would end relative to its rear half. That's when I realized I have something new to science," Dr. Kenshu Shimada, a professor at DePaul University in Chicago, said in a news release

The nearly-complete skeleton examined in a recent study was originally unearthed from a fossil site known as the Britton Formation in Dallas County. Dating the remains revealed the new species, subsequently dubbed Pentanogmius fritschi, is approximately 90 million years old, joining us from the Cretaceous Period. Based on their analysis, researchers suggest the fish was likely active in open ocean environments, where it fed on a variety of small animals like squid and other fish.

"We're very excited by the discovery of this new fossil fish for two reasons. First, it once again illustrates that the Perot Museum of Nature and Science not only inspires but serves as a resource for those in our community curious about the natural world around them," Dr. Anthony Fiorillo, chief curator and vice president of research and collections at the Perot Museum, added in a statement. "Secondly, this find also demonstrates the dynamic nature of scientific investigation within our T. Boone Pickens Life Then & Now Hall."

Their findings were recently published in the journal Cretaceous Research.

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