⇧ You may also like this partner content (after the ad)
Vampires of the abyss, cephalopods essentially inhabiting the abyss, fascinate with their strange morphology. Rather widespread but little studied, their most distant ancestors would have populated our oceans since the Carboniferous (there is 350 at 300 million years). Recent studies then attempt to learn more about the superorder Vampyropods. By taking a closer look at an exceptionally well-preserved cephalopod fossil, recent research from the Manhattan Museum of Natural History (AMNH) has uncovered a startling discovery that may relate to the oldest ancestor of the deep-sea vampire and the octopus. Even more surprising, the specimen has ten tentacles instead of eight, and grows back almost 100 million years the age of the group. A discovery that completely changes the understanding of the evolution of this group of species.
Baptized Syllipsimopodi bideni, the famous specimen was named in l honor of the last President of the United States, Joe Biden. The fossil was apparently originally discovered in the years 80, in a Lagerstätte (sedimentary deposit containing very complete fossils) at Bear Gulch, Montana (United States). It has since been shelved, until AMNH researchers took interest in it and examined it more closely.
Scientists then made an astonishing discovery concerning the fossil of the small animal, which is about 7 cm long. “This is the first and only known vampyropod to possess 10 functional appendages”, says Christopher Whalen in a press release, lead author of the study, postdoctoral researcher in paleontology at the AMNH and postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Yale. soft tissues, which do not fossilize easily. This is surely why these species are so little studied. They are also typically characterized by eight arms and an inner chitinous shell and/or fin supports.
Furthermore, the molecular clock of the lineage suggests that vampyropods appeared there 350 at 328 millions of years. However, the oldest previously known specimen is a fossil dating from around 200 million years. The 10 functional arms and the 328 million years of Syllipsimopodi bideni, thus completely changing the situation.