Fossilized action snapshot

posted by Patrick Tanguay Feb 03, 2020


Did pterosaurs eat squid? Perhaps by flying low and grabbing them out of the water? In a fascinating glimpse at wildlife from millions of years ago, experts are studying what might prove to be a fossilized predator-prey relationship. Though their conclusion is highly speculative, researchers are using techniques such as ultraviolet light—which can differentiate between sediment and formerly living tissue—to determine what might have happened to produce this fossil, and deduct some hints of the species' behaviour.

The specimen, which was found in Germany's Solnhofen fossil beds, is an 11-inch-long coleoid cephalopod, a precursor to today's squids, octopuses and cuttlefish. It is preserved well enough that its ink sac and fins are readily visible, as is the very sharp-looking tooth stuck just below its head.