If there is one film that has terrified an entire generation, it is Les Dents de la Mer … Music alone is known to everyone and gives you the chills! But did you know that a 93 million year old winged shark was discovered in Mexico in 2012?
We know sharks have been around since “the dawn of time” but this specimen would be from a specific species. In fact, it would have long pectoral fins, like the manta rays we know today. An Aquilolamna Milarcae Shark for Latinists!
This finding shows that yesterday’s sharks didn’t look like the great white shark or even the hammerhead shark we know. According to the researchers, sharks had long, slender bodies, but two long wings!
The fossil was discovered in 2012 near Vallecillo, Mexico by paleontologist Margarito González González. Nine years later, this fossil reappears and is the focus of a new study published in the journal Nature. This study goes into the details of this mysterious winged shark.
The study from 2021
Led by Romain Vullo, a researcher at CNRS in Rennes, the new study claims that this shark doesn’t look like any other shark identified so far! It would be wider and shorter than current sharks with a length of 1.65 m and a wingspan of 1.90 m, but there is no data on whether it is an adult or a young person.
“Since this shark was likely feeding on plankton, it didn’t have to go fast. As with modern manta rays, a relatively slow swim was enough to eat plankton, ”Romain Vullo told the news anchor’s website.
Press release 🗞️ | To learn more about the discovery of this fossil of a “winged” shark that swam in the Cretaceous Period, discover the interview with Romain Vullo, researcher at @GeosciencesR laboratory
🤝 @ UnivRennes1 @OSURennes @INEE_CNRS @INSU_CNRS https://t.co/FrQA9pseTH
– CNRS Bretagne and Pays de la Loire (@ CNRS_dr17), March 19, 2021
Scientists estimate that it could be an adult and that the species could reach a maximum length of 10 feet. The nickname “eagle shark” also has a very short head and wide mouth. The caudal fin, on the other hand, is similar to that of the sharks we know.
What secrets does the study reveal?
In addition to its morphology, which is different from what we know, this winged shark also gives us elements in its path of evolution. Hence, its anatomy suggests that it fed on plankton by opening its mouth. Like manta rays elsewhere! And no teeth were found for good reason! His “wings” wouldn’t make him a very quick chalk. It is possible that the wings are some kind of stabilizer.
This is an important discovery, given that scientists were only aware of one type of crustacean that eat plankton. Today’s Pachycormid complement has disappeared. The fossil has not yet revealed all of its secrets, however, and the Rennes team are hoping to find teeth by returning to Mexico, where the specimen was found.