Found in Italy a fossil of a fish, it is 48 million years old – Terra & Poli

Found in Italy a fossil of a fish, it is 48 million years old – Terra & Poli
Found in Italy a fossil of a fish, it is 48 million years old – Terra & Poli

Discovered in Italy, in Veneto, the fossil of a fish that dates back to 48 million years ago, belongs to a new species and is in an exceptional state of conservation. He lived in what was then a tropical lagoon surrounded by coral reefs and was brought to light thanks to excavations conducted by the Civic Museum of Natural History of Verona at the Pesciara di Bolca, in the Lessini Mountains. It is “a fossil fish of extraordinary importance and spectacular beauty”, write the paleontologists of the University of Turin who analyzed it, Giorgio Carnevale and Giuseppe Marramà.

Known since the 16th century for the exceptional state of conservation of its fossils, mainly fish, the Pesciara di Bolca deposit has returned hundreds of thousands of fossil remains of animal and plant organisms. The fossil belongs to a new species of breed that belongs to the group of ‘myobatiform’ cartilaginous fish, the same group that includes stingrays, sea eagles and gigantic manta rays.
These races today include two groups of species: that of the ‘dasyatoidea’, which live mainly on the seabed, and the Myliobatoidea, such as sea eagles and manta rays, which live in the open sea.


Detail of the fossil fish discovered in Veneto in Pesciara di Bolca, in the Lessini Mountains (source: Giorgio Carnevale, University of Turin)

For Carnevale and Marramà “this fossil breed of Bolca, which certainly represents a new species, is characterized by a peculiar anatomy, very different from that of the current species”, that is, by a mix of characters common to both groups to which the races belong currently existing (miliobatiforms and dasyatoidea): the new species could therefore represent a “transitional form” between the two groups or it could be a sort of ancestor common to the two groups. For sure, the researchers note, the extinct species can be considered “another evolutionary experiment conducted by myliobatiform fish during their long history that began in the Cretaceous about 130 million years ago, and continues today.”

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Italy fossil fish million years Terra Poli

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