Anchovies, living 54 million years ago, turned out to be the largest saber-toothed predators. This conclusion was made by scientists from the University of Michigan as a result of the analysis of a new fossil species of fish that belong to the anchovy family. The study is published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.
Scientists examined a sample found in 1977 in Pakistan – a broken skull, whose length is about 104 mm. The remains belong to a previously unknown species of fish – the researchers gave it the name Monosmilus chureloides.
It is assumed that fossil fish lived about 54 million years ago – at the junction of the Early and Middle Eocene. They had a powerful asymmetric fang, and the length of her body was about one meter, scientists believe.
The body structure of the animal indicates that it was a predator – probably the largest at that time since the other fish-eating animals disappeared during the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction when dinosaurs died.
Researchers believe that Monosmilus chureloides belongs to the genus of anchovies – in other words, modern anchovies are descended from large fish-eating animals.