Rare ‘winged’ shark fossil found reminiscent of stingrays

Rare 'winged' shark fossil found reminiscent of stingrays

Discovered in Mexico and analyzed by an international team of paleontologists led by a researcher from the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), the following shark fossil sheds light on the morphological diversity of Cretaceous sharks.

This newly described fossil species, called Aquilolamna milarcae , has allowed its discoverers to erect a new family .

93 million years ago

According to the authors of the finding, which have been described in the journal Science, 93 million years ago, strange winged sharks swam in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The specimen studied was 1.65 meters long and 1.90 meters wide. With its large mouth and supposedly very small teeth, it must have fed on plankton .

Figure1a Specimen Fossile Credit Wolfgang Stinnesbecksmall

Like stingrays, these ‘eagle sharks’ are characterized by extremely long and thin pectoral fins reminiscent of wings .

The ‘Aquilolamna milarcae’ had a tail fin with a well developed upper lobe, typical of most pelagic sharks, such as the whale shark and the tiger shark. Thus, its anatomical characteristics give it a chimerical appearance that combines sharks and rays.