The Cretaceous (Cenomanian) continental record of the Laje do Coringa flagstone (Alcântara Formation), Brazil, northeastern South America   [2014]
Highlights:
• A summary of the Cretaceous flora and fauna of Alcântara Formation, Brazil.
• Evidence of the existence of a trans-oceanic Gondwanan fauna until the Cenomanian.
• Forested areas surrounded by dry environment in Brazilian northeastern coast. 
Abstract:
The fossil taxa of the Cenomanian continental flora and fauna of São Luís Basin are observed primarily in the bone bed of the Laje do Coringa, Alcântara Formation. Many of the disarticulated fish and tetrapod skeletal and dental elements are remarkably similar to the chronocorrelate fauna of Northern Africa. In this study, we present a summary of the continental flora and fauna of the Laje do Coringa bone-bed.
The record emphasizes the existence of a trans-oceanic typical fauna, at least until the early Cenomanian, which may be interpreted as minor evolutionary changes after a major vicariant event or as a result of a land bridge across the equatorial Atlantic Ocean, thereby allowing interchanges between South America and Africa.
The paleoenvironmental conditions in the northern Maranhão State coast during that time were inferred as forested humid areas surrounded by an arid to semi-arid landscape.
The paper:
Manuel Alfredo Medeiros, Rafael Matos Lindoso, Ighor Dienes Mendes and Ismar de Souza Carvalho. 2014. Journal of South American Earth Sciences. 53, 50–58. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsames.2014.04.002
(via: NovaTaxa - Species new to Science)

The Cretaceous (Cenomanian) continental record of the Laje do Coringa flagstone (Alcântara Formation), Brazil, northeastern South America   [2014]

Highlights:

  • • A summary of the Cretaceous flora and fauna of Alcântara Formation, Brazil.
  • • Evidence of the existence of a trans-oceanic Gondwanan fauna until the Cenomanian.
  • • Forested areas surrounded by dry environment in Brazilian northeastern coast. 

Abstract:

The fossil taxa of the Cenomanian continental flora and fauna of São Luís Basin are observed primarily in the bone bed of the Laje do Coringa, Alcântara Formation. Many of the disarticulated fish and tetrapod skeletal and dental elements are remarkably similar to the chronocorrelate fauna of Northern Africa. In this study, we present a summary of the continental flora and fauna of the Laje do Coringa bone-bed.

The record emphasizes the existence of a trans-oceanic typical fauna, at least until the early Cenomanian, which may be interpreted as minor evolutionary changes after a major vicariant event or as a result of a land bridge across the equatorial Atlantic Ocean, thereby allowing interchanges between South America and Africa.

The paleoenvironmental conditions in the northern Maranhão State coast during that time were inferred as forested humid areas surrounded by an arid to semi-arid landscape.

The paper:

Manuel Alfredo Medeiros, Rafael Matos Lindoso, Ighor Dienes Mendes and Ismar de Souza Carvalho. 2014. Journal of South American Earth Sciences. 53, 50–58. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsames.2014.04.002

(via: NovaTaxa - Species new to Science)

Happy World Ocean Day!

Every June 8, the world takes a day to celebrate the ocean and its amazing creatures. We celebrate the ocean every day here at the Ocean Portal, but we hope that you take a moment to think about what you love the most about the sea.

Photos: From our ‘Portraits of Planet Ocean’ Flickr contest. Flickr users: Erwin Poliakoff (edpdiver), Bill Under (billunder), Susana Martins (susanamart), Russell Gilbert (RCG maru), and Bobby Pfeiffer (AdventureBobby).

(via: The Ocean Portal - Smithsonian)

Newly Found ‘Godzilla Shark’ Had Teeth Like Namesake
by Jennifer Viegas
A 300-million-year-old shark, dubbed “Godzilla shark,” has been found in the Monzano Mountains east of Albuquerque, New Mexico, paleontologist John-Paul-Hodnett informed Discovery News.
Hodnett is an independent researcher with institutional ties to Northern Arizona University and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. He serendipitously came across the tip of the shark’s nose, embedded in rock, while on a trip to the mountains. Its size, anatomy, age, and state of preservation make it a noteworthy discovery, in addition to the shark’s resemblance to the fictional Godzilla…
(read more: Discovery News)
illustration by Ray Troll

Newly Found ‘Godzilla Shark’ Had Teeth Like Namesake

by Jennifer Viegas

A 300-million-year-old shark, dubbed “Godzilla shark,” has been found in the Monzano Mountains east of Albuquerque, New Mexico, paleontologist John-Paul-Hodnett informed Discovery News.

Hodnett is an independent researcher with institutional ties to Northern Arizona University and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. He serendipitously came across the tip of the shark’s nose, embedded in rock, while on a trip to the mountains. Its size, anatomy, age, and state of preservation make it a noteworthy discovery, in addition to the shark’s resemblance to the fictional Godzilla…

(read more: Discovery News)

illustration by Ray Troll

Rare Goblin Shark Caught in Gulf of Mexico
Commercial fisher Carl Moore wasn’t sure what he had netted last week just south of Key West, Florida, when he saw the fish’s flat, blade-like snout. Only after the Georgia angler photographed and released his catch was its identity confirmed: It was a goblin shark, a rare deep-sea shark, and it’s believed to be only the second such specimen ever caught in the Gulf of Mexico…
(read more: National Geo)
photograph by Carl Moore

Rare Goblin Shark Caught in Gulf of Mexico

Commercial fisher Carl Moore wasn’t sure what he had netted last week just south of Key West, Florida, when he saw the fish’s flat, blade-like snout. Only after the Georgia angler photographed and released his catch was its identity confirmed: It was a goblin shark, a rare deep-sea shark, and it’s believed to be only the second such specimen ever caught in the Gulf of Mexico…

(read more: National Geo)

photograph by Carl Moore

palaeopedia
palaeopedia:

The frilled Shark, Chlamydoselachus anguineus (1884)
Phylum : ChordataClass : ChondrichthyesSubclass : ElasmobranchiiOrder : HexanchiformesFamily : ChlamydoselachidaeGenus : ChlamydoselachusSpecies : C. anguineus
Near threatened
1,5 m long and 10 kg (size)
Oceans worldwide (map)
With its elongated, eel-like body and strange appearance, the frilled shark has long been likened to the mythical sea serpent. The head is broad and flattened with a short, rounded snout. The nostrils are vertical slits, separated into incurrent and excurrent openings by a leading flap of skin. The moderately large eyes are horizontally oval and lack nictitating membranes (protective third eyelids). The very long jaws are positioned terminally (at the end of the snout), as opposed to the underslung jaws of most sharks. The corners of the mouth are devoid of furrows or folds. The tooth rows are rather widely spaced, numbering 19–28 in the upper jaw and 21–29 in the lower jaw. The teeth number around 300 in all; each tooth is small, with three slender, needle-like cusps alternating with two cusplets. There are six pairs of long gill slits with a “frilly” appearance created by the extended tips of the gill filaments, giving this shark its name. The first pair of gill slits meet across the throat, forming a “collar”.
Highly specialized for life in the deep sea, the frilled shark has a reduced, poorly calcified skeleton and an enormous liver filled with low-density lipids, allowing it to maintain its position in the water column with little effort. It is one of the few sharks with an “open” lateral line, in which the mechanoreceptive hair cells are positioned in grooves that are directly exposed to the surrounding seawater. This configuration is thought to be basal in sharks and may enhance its sensitivity to the minute movements of its prey. Many frilled sharks are found with the tips of their tails missing, probably from predatory attacks by other shark species.Parasites identified from this shark include a tapeworm in the genus Monorygma, the fluke Otodistomum veliporum, and the nematode Mooleptus rabuka.

palaeopedia:

The frilled Shark, Chlamydoselachus anguineus (1884)

Phylum : Chordata
Class : Chondrichthyes
Subclass : Elasmobranchii
Order : Hexanchiformes
Family : Chlamydoselachidae
Genus : Chlamydoselachus
Species : C. anguineus

  • Near threatened
  • 1,5 m long and 10 kg (size)
  • Oceans worldwide (map)

With its elongated, eel-like body and strange appearance, the frilled shark has long been likened to the mythical sea serpent. The head is broad and flattened with a short, rounded snout. The nostrils are vertical slits, separated into incurrent and excurrent openings by a leading flap of skin. The moderately large eyes are horizontally oval and lack nictitating membranes (protective third eyelids). The very long jaws are positioned terminally (at the end of the snout), as opposed to the underslung jaws of most sharks. The corners of the mouth are devoid of furrows or folds. The tooth rows are rather widely spaced, numbering 19–28 in the upper jaw and 21–29 in the lower jaw. The teeth number around 300 in all; each tooth is small, with three slender, needle-like cusps alternating with two cusplets. There are six pairs of long gill slits with a “frilly” appearance created by the extended tips of the gill filaments, giving this shark its name. The first pair of gill slits meet across the throat, forming a “collar”.

Highly specialized for life in the deep sea, the frilled shark has a reduced, poorly calcified skeleton and an enormous liver filled with low-density lipids, allowing it to maintain its position in the water column with little effort. It is one of the few sharks with an “open” lateral line, in which the mechanoreceptive hair cells are positioned in grooves that are directly exposed to the surrounding seawater. This configuration is thought to be basal in sharks and may enhance its sensitivity to the minute movements of its prey. Many frilled sharks are found with the tips of their tails missing, probably from predatory attacks by other shark species.Parasites identified from this shark include a tapeworm in the genus Monorygma, the fluke Otodistomum veliporum, and the nematode Mooleptus rabuka.

ichthyologist
ichthyologist:

Spotted Wobbegong (Orectolobus maculatus)
Wobbegongs are carpet sharks known for their bottom-dwelling behaviour. The name “wobbegong” is thought to have come from an Australian Aboriginal language and means ‘shaggy beard’. This refers to the tassels growing around the fish’s mouth, which serves to disguise the predator as a weedy rock. They are ambush predators, waiting for small fish to unknowingly come too close before quickly striking them down.
Richard Ling on Flickr

ichthyologist:

Spotted Wobbegong (Orectolobus maculatus)

Wobbegongs are carpet sharks known for their bottom-dwelling behaviour. The name “wobbegong” is thought to have come from an Australian Aboriginal language and means ‘shaggy beard’. This refers to the tassels growing around the fish’s mouth, which serves to disguise the predator as a weedy rock. They are ambush predators, waiting for small fish to unknowingly come too close before quickly striking them down.

Richard Ling on Flickr

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)
A satellite-tagged great white shark called Lydia is about to make history as the first of its species to be seen crossing from one side of the Atlantic to the other. Lydia was first tagged off Florida as part of the Ocearch scientific project. She is currently swimming above the mid-Atlantic ridge in the center of the Atlantic… 
Read about it on BBC News

A satellite-tagged great white shark called Lydia is about to make history as the first of its species to be seen crossing from one side of the Atlantic to the other. Lydia was first tagged off Florida as part of the Ocearch scientific project. She is currently swimming above the mid-Atlantic ridge in the center of the Atlantic…

Read about it on BBC News

palaeopedia
palaeopedia:

The Falcatus (1985)
Phylum : ChordataClass : ChondrichthyesSubclass : ElasmobranchiiOrder : SymmoriidaFamily : FalcatidaeGenus : FalcatusSpecies : F. falcatus
Middle Carboniferous (358,9 - 323,2 Ma)
30 cm long and 1 kg (size)
Bear Gluch bay, Missouri in USA (map)
A close relative of Stethacanthus, which lived a few million years earlier, the tiny prehistoric shark Falcatus is known from numerous fossil remains from Missouri, dating from the Carboniferous period. Besides its small size, this early shark was distinguished by its large eyes (the better for hunting prey deep underwater) and symmetrical tail, which hints that it was an accomplished swimmer. Also, the abundant fossil evidence has revealed striking evidence of sexual dimorphism—Falcatus males had narrow, sickle-shaped spines jutting out of the tops of their heads, which presumably attracted females for mating purposes.

palaeopedia:

The Falcatus (1985)

Phylum : Chordata
Class : Chondrichthyes
Subclass : Elasmobranchii
Order : Symmoriida
Family : Falcatidae
Genus : Falcatus
Species : F. falcatus

  • Middle Carboniferous (358,9 - 323,2 Ma)
  • 30 cm long and 1 kg (size)
  • Bear Gluch bay, Missouri in USA (map)

A close relative of Stethacanthus, which lived a few million years earlier, the tiny prehistoric shark Falcatus is known from numerous fossil remains from Missouri, dating from the Carboniferous period. Besides its small size, this early shark was distinguished by its large eyes (the better for hunting prey deep underwater) and symmetrical tail, which hints that it was an accomplished swimmer. Also, the abundant fossil evidence has revealed striking evidence of sexual dimorphism—Falcatus males had narrow, sickle-shaped spines jutting out of the tops of their heads, which presumably attracted females for mating purposes.

Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias)
In North America, the Great White Shark is primarily found off the coasts of California and the northeast, but they live throughout temperate and tropical oceans and can occur along the length of both coasts. While they can reach 21 ft (6.5 m) long, they actually average a more modest 13-17 ft (4-5 m) when mature.
Great Whites are relatively intelligent and can be fairly social. In South Africa where most Great White research is done, they have been shown to organize into clans like wolf packs, where each individual has a clear rank under an alpha leader. They are typically not violent in their social interactions with other Great Whites - they rely on rituals and displays to establish dominance. Interestingly, females are dominant over males in such situations.
They are ambush predators whose diet is composed of large vertebrates such as seals, dolphins or big fish like tuna. Most prey is taken by surprise from behind or below, typically in the early morning hours when visibility is poorer. Great Whites generally focus on species with higher fat content - humans are too bony to be considered appealing, but since swimmers or surfers can resemble some of their preferred prey (seals) attacks occasionally happen.
photo by Tom Clifton on Flickr
(via: Peterson Field Guides)

Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias)

In North America, the Great White Shark is primarily found off the coasts of California and the northeast, but they live throughout temperate and tropical oceans and can occur along the length of both coasts. While they can reach 21 ft (6.5 m) long, they actually average a more modest 13-17 ft (4-5 m) when mature.

Great Whites are relatively intelligent and can be fairly social. In South Africa where most Great White research is done, they have been shown to organize into clans like wolf packs, where each individual has a clear rank under an alpha leader. They are typically not violent in their social interactions with other Great Whites - they rely on rituals and displays to establish dominance. Interestingly, females are dominant over males in such situations.

They are ambush predators whose diet is composed of large vertebrates such as seals, dolphins or big fish like tuna. Most prey is taken by surprise from behind or below, typically in the early morning hours when visibility is poorer. Great Whites generally focus on species with higher fat content - humans are too bony to be considered appealing, but since swimmers or surfers can resemble some of their preferred prey (seals) attacks occasionally happen.

photo by Tom Clifton on Flickr

(via: Peterson Field Guides)