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Bite marks on an ichthyodectiform fish from Australia: possible evidence of trophic interaction in an Early Cretaceous marine ecosystem
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Evolution and Developmental Biology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
2014 (English)In: Alcheringa, ISSN 0311-5518, Vol. 38, no 2, 170-176 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A well-preserved fish skull from late Albian deposits of the Allaru Mudstone near Richmond in Queensland displays a conspicuous V-shaped pattern of indentations, punctures and depression fractures consistent with a vertebrate bite trace. This is the first direct evidence of trophic interaction between vertebrates within an Early Cretaceous marine ecosystem from Australia. The specimen is taxonomically referable to the largebodied (ca 1m snouttail length) ichthyodectiform Cooyoo australis, but the size and spacing of the tooth marks is incompatible with attack by a conspecific individual. The lack of osseous growths concordant with healing also suggests that the bite occurred shortly before or after the animals death. Comparison with the dentitions of other coeval vertebrates indicates compatible tooth arrangements in longirostrine amniote predators such as polycotylid plesiosaurians, ornithocheiroid pterosaurs and especially the ichthyosaurian Platypterygius. The implications of this as a potential predatorprey association are that Early Cretaceous actinopterygians occupied middle-level trophic niches and were in turn consumed by higher-level amniote carnivores, similar to many extant marine vertebrate communities of today.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 38, no 2, 170-176 p.
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
Earth Science with specialization in Historical Geology and Palaeontology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-213756DOI: 10.1080/03115518.2014.848692ISI: 000333881200002OAI: diva2:683396
Available from: 2014-01-03 Created: 2014-01-03 Last updated: 2014-05-12Bibliographically approved

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