Paleontologists discover a rare fossil of a shark

Swiss paleontologists have made a triple discovery of an extremely rare fossil: a shark eating a squid, itself eating a crustacean.

It is not uncommon for paleontologists to discover two fossils at the same time. Usually that of a predator and its prey, whether in the heat of the moment or as poorly digested remains. However, this team of Swiss researchers has just made a completely different discovery, as reported in the Swiss Journal of Paleontology.

The palaeontologists have discovered a fossil that immortalizes a very unusual scene: a double feast, in which a predator is also prey.

A Jurassic feast

The discovery was made in a quarry in Germany by an amateur. When the team of five palaeontologists led by Christian Klug examined the fossil, they came across an unusual scene: that of a shark devouring a squid, itself eating a crustacean.

The scene is thought to have occurred in Jurassic waters. Embedded in a slab of sediment, the fossils were easily identified by the researchers because of their very good state of preservation. The crustaceans are thought to be Proeryion, the squid Passaloteuthis laevigata, and probably Hybodus hauffianus, the top of the food chain, an ancient shark species.

An important discovery

The findings of the meal remains are not insignificant for palaeontologists. These poorly digested prey items, known as pabulites, offer important information to researchers about the structure of predator organisms.

These three fossils, which are about 180 million years old, will undoubtedly provide valuable details about the eating habits of the time. It is now certain: we finally know who ate whom!

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