Researchers have discovered a new species that lived on Earth millions of years ago with protective functions that scientists had not seen before.
Researchers in France have discovered a new species using modern imaging techniques to reanalyze previously discovered fossils of vampiromorphs, a group of mostly extinct octopus-like animals, including the living deep-sea vampire squid (Vampyroteuthis infernalis).
A new study has shown that a bullet-shaped creature resembling a vampire squid with glowing organs, 8 arms and suckers plowed Earth’s oceans about 165 million years ago. However, unlike the vampire squid, which is a scavenger, this ancient creature seemed to forage live prey using its grasping hands. In addition, scientists discovered that this mysterious creature had luminous organs, and they also used a defense mechanism that scientists had never seen before in any fossil.
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Just 8 centimeters long, the new species was named Vampyrofugiens atramentum, combining the original Serbian word for “vampire” and the Latin word for “escape”, which literally means “escaped vampire”.
The scientists compared the ancient creature’s anatomy with living species and concluded that the escaped vampire lived in the open ocean and fed on fish, crustaceans and possibly smaller cephalopods. It was also apparently food for larger fish and cephalopods.
Alison Rowe, a doctoral student at the Paleontology Research Center (CR2P) in Paris, said the escaped vampire is both hunter and prey at the same time. The researchers believe this new discovery will help shed light on the evolution of all coleoid cephalopods, including octopuses, squid and cuttlefish. Although hundreds of different species of this group still swim in the oceans today, it is extremely difficult for scientists to understand what evolutionary path they took because their soft bodies are rarely preserved.
During the study, the scientists used high-resolution x-rays and computer simulations – this allowed them to look inside the samples without destroying them. According to Rowe, he and his team discovered that V. atramentum actually had very innovative features that set it apart from other members of the group. For example, luminous organs and an ink bag. It is assumed that the former was used by the ancient creature to communicate in the dark ocean by creating light signals, while the latter, if discovered, helps it avoid predators.
Rowe says the combination of bioluminescence and ink is actually only present in some creatures, such as glass squid, but has never been seen in an extinct species before.
Previously Focus He wrote that scientists have discovered a new species of tarantula with “golden” feathers.
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