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12.06.2016 17:49 - Encyclopedia Largest prehistoric animals Vol.1 Vertebrates part12 Fish - Ichthyodectids
Автор: valentint Категория: Забавление   
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Ichthyodectid (Ichthyodectidae)

The largest of ichthyodectid fish was the 6.0 metres (19.7 ft) long Xiphactinus.image

Xiphactinus (from Latin and Greek for "sword-ray") is an extinct genus of large, 4.5 to 6 m (15 to 20 feet) long predatory marine bony fish that lived during the Late Cretaceous. When alive, the fish would have resembled a gargantuan, fanged tarpon (to which it was, however, not related).The species Portheus molossus described by Cope is a junior synonym of X. audax. Skeletal remains of Xiphactinus have come from Kansas (where the first Xiphactinus fossil was discovered during the 1850s) Alabama, and Georgia in the United States, as well as Europe, Australia, Canada and Venezuela.
Species of Xiphactinus were voracious predatory fish. At least a dozen specimens of X. audax have been collected with the remains of large, undigested or partially digested prey in their stomachs. In particular, one 13 feet (4.0 m) fossil specimen was collected by George F. Sternberg with another, nearly perfectly preserved 6 feet (1.8 m) long ichthyodectid Gillicus arcuatus, inside of it. The larger fish apparently died soon after eating its prey, most likely due to the smaller fish prey struggling and rupturing an organ as it was being swallowed. This fossil can be seen at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History in Hays, Kansas.
Like many other species in the Late Cretaceous oceans, a dead or injured individual was likely to be scavenged by sharks (Cretoxyrhina and Squalicorax). The remains of a Xiphactinus were found within a large specimen of Cretoxyrhina collected by Charles H. Sternberg. The specimen is on display at the University of Kansas Museum of Natural History.
Virtually nothing is known about the larval or juvenile stages. The smallest fossil specimen of X. audax consists of a tooth bearing premaxilla and lower jaws of an individual estimated to be about 12 inches (30 cm) long.
The species and all other ichthyodectids went extinct near the end of the Late Cretaceous - see Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.
An incomplete skull of what may be a new species of Xiphactinus was found in 2002 in the Czech Republic, in a small town called Sachov next Borohradek city, by student Michal Matejka.
In July 2010 the bones of a Xiphactinus were discovered near Morden, Manitoba, Canada. The specimen is about six metres long and was found with the flipper of a
mosasaur between its jaws.

Ichthyodectes ctenodon

Ichthyodectes ctenodon ("Fish Biter (with) Comb Teeth") was a 4-metre long ichthyodectid. It lived in the Western Interior Seaway of North America during the late Cretaceous. It was closely related to the 4 to 6 metre long Xiphactinus audax, and the 2-metre long Gillicus arcuatus, and like other ichthyodectids, I. ctenodon is presumed to have been a swift predator of smaller fish. As its species name suggests, I. ctenodon had small, uniformly sized teeth, as did its smaller relative, G. arcuatus, and may have simply sucked suitably sized prey into its mouth.


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