Ancient fish pays with life for snaring flying dino

March 12th, 2012 - 6:45 pm ICT by IANS  

London, March 12 (IANS) Fossil remains of an ancient armoured fish, excavated in Bavaria, Germany, show it in the act of snaring its prey and paying with its life.

The amazing find is 120 millions years old, showing that even with wings, the long-tailed pterosaur wasn’t safe from the jaws of the carnivorous fish, aspidorhynchus.

The flying reptile’s wings were found in or around the mouths of their 25-inch fish predators, suggesting that they may have been reeled in wing-first.

These couldn’t have been missed; their wingspan was some 27-inches. Incredibly, one of the remains of the pterosaur has another, smaller fish, leptolepides, seemingly lodged in its throat, reports the Daily Mail.

So before it had had time to digest its dinner, the flying reptile went on to be snared for someone else’s meal. But scientists doubt whether the pterosaur was a regular part of the diet of the armoured fish, and suggest the attack could have been a mistake.

Researcher Eberhard Frey, paleozoologist at the State Natural History Museum in Karlsruhe, Germany said: “These animals normally have nothing to do with each other. Apparently these encounters were fatal for both of them.”

“Fish sometimes don’t take care with what they eat, because their brains are not very smart. Occasionally you find fish that died because they ate another fish that was too big to get swallowed, and the same things happened here with these pterosaurs,” said Frey.

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