Navigation Links
Details of ancient shark attack preserved in fossil whale bone
Date:11/10/2011

A fragment of whale rib found in a North Carolina strip mine is offering scientists a rare glimpse at the interactions between prehistoric sharks and whales some 3- to 4-million years ago during the Pliocene.

Three tooth marks on the rib indicate the whale was once severely bitten by a strong-jawed animal. Judging by the 6 centimeter spacing between tooth marks, scientists believe the attacker was a mega toothed shark Carcharocles megalodon, or perhaps another species of large shark which was alive at that time. The whale appears to have been an ancestor of a great blue or humpback.

"One certainly doesn't expect to find evidence of animal behavior preserved in the fossil record, but this fossil shows just that, a failed predation," explains Stephen Godfrey, paleontologist at the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons, Md. and a Smithsonian research collaborator, who discovered the fossil. "The shark may have gone away with a mouthful, but it didn't kill the whale"

Scientists know the whale survived because "most of the fossil fragment is covered with a type of bone known as woven bone, which forms rapidly in response to localized infection," explains Don Ortner, an anthropologist at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and authority on the effect of disorders on skeletal tissue. "Biomechanically woven bone is not very strong. The body eventually remodels it into compact bone, but it takes time." CT scans reveal evidence of inflammation in the bone marrow consistent with infection.

The presence of the woven bone indicates the healing was incomplete and the whale died, the scientists estimate, between two and 6 weeks after the attack. The whale's death may have been unrelated to its infection and injury, Ortner says. "We don't know why it died."

Based on the curvature of the shark's jaw, as indicated by the arc of the impressions of its teeth, the scientists believe the shark was relatively small, between 4- and 8 meters long.

In the realm of paleontology, "only a handful of fossils show these kinds of interactions," Godfrey explains. "There are lots of bite marks on fossils showing where the animal died and its carcass was scavenged. This fossil is one of a very few examples that shows a trauma clearly attributed to another animal, yet also shows the victim survived the event."


'/>"/>

Contact: Brian Ireley
ireleyb@si.edu
Smithsonian
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. ORNL neutrons, simulations reveal details of bioenergy barrier
2. BGI releases a complete de novo E. coli O104 genome and details of their detection kit
3. What is a laboratory mouse? Jackson, UNC researchers reveal the details
4. Study details path to sustainable aviation biofuels industry in Northwest
5. Imaging technology reveals intricate details of 49-million-year-old spider
6. Polarized microscopy technique shows new details of how proteins are arranged
7. Scripps Research team discovers new details about medically important protein family
8. Book details viability of wood to energy market in southern wildland-urban interface areas
9. Research into chromosome replication reveals details of heredity dynamics
10. Fruit fly study digs deeper into poorly understood details of forming embryos
11. Scientists unravel more details of plant cell-wall construction
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Details of ancient shark attack preserved in fossil whale bone
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  Vigilant Solutions announces today that ... are being used by Lee,s Summit ... recent location and arrest of a homicide suspect. ... covers around 65 square miles and is home to ... Department has a single mobile license plate reader system and ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... 2016 http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/5kvw8m/global_facial ) ... "Global Facial Recognition Market 2016-2020" report ... ) has announced the addition of the ... report to their offering. --> ... announced the addition of the "Global ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/d8zjcd/emotion_detection ) ... "Emotion Detection and Recognition Market by Technology ... Tools (Facial Expression, Voice Recognition and Others), ... Global forecast to 2020" report to ... ) has announced the addition of the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... , February 10, 2016 Early-career researchers ... , Peru , Uganda and ... life-enhancing work in health and nutrition   Indonesia ... Uganda and Yemen are being ... and epidemiology. They are also celebrated for mentoring young women scientists who ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... is introducing a hybrid membership model which will provide ... joining or renewing through an organizational purchasing model. For ... employee in any size association or AMC office can ... benefits.   John H. Graham, IV , ... organizations of any size and their employees to gain ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... plc (NYSE: AGN ) a leading global pharmaceutical ... CEO and President, will be featured as the keynote ... Capital Markets Healthcare Conference on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 ... Hotel in New York, NY . ... accessed on Allergan,s Investor Relations web site at ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... MO (PRWEB) , ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... will attend the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) Rocky Mountain Chapter 21st ... ISPE is expecting to fill more than 100 tables for its annual event, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: