Researchers found a species of fish that lived 95 million years ago in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, at the time of the dinosaurs, and probably of American origin, according to the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
“In Chiapas a fossil of a fish was found whose main characteristic is the presence of numerous spines on the dorsal and anal fins. It is a previously unidentified species that inhabited approximately 95 million years ago. That is, at the time of the existence of dinosaurs.” The academic center said in a statement on Tuesday.
Paleontologists from the UNAM Institute of Geology found this fossil in 2018 in the El Chango quarry, located in the municipality of Ocozocoautla de Espinosa, Chiapas, approximately 30 kilometers from Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the state capital.
The fossil was baptized with the name Choichix alvaradoi, in honor of Jesús Alvarado Ortega, who dedicates his academic life to the study of fossil fish in Mexico and the training of other paleontologists.
What’s more, it is also a tribute to the language spoken in the communities near the quarry.
Kleyton Magno Cantalice, specialist in paleoecology at UNAM, explained that Choichix alvaradoi is a genus and a species “new to the world”.
The specialist said that belongs to a large group of fish called acanthomorphs (acanthus = spine, morphos = shape) of which almost all those that have a thorn in their fins are part, such as crappie, snook or red snapper, among others.
The town where the find was made, he said, is a known fossil site in Mexico. Since 2006, the discovery of fish and also plants, mollusks, crustaceans and ammonites has been reported.
“We could say that this species lived alongside the dinosaurs, although this does not mean that there are such fossils in that quarry.” Said the expert.
So far they have nine species of fish found in the place.
It is thought that Choichix alvaradoi is the “most primitive” species within the phylogenetic analysis (of its genetic lineage), which leads to consider that the origin of this group was in Mexico and had dispersion and diversification towards the Tethys Sea, an ocean of the Mesozoic era, prior to the appearance of the Indian Ocean.
“Before it was believed that the fish had originated there (in Europe) and that they migrated to this part of America. However, we now see that the oldest and most primitive fish were in this region”, he reiterated.
This is also a “important finding” because it is not only seen with this fish, but with other animals, which points to a “new history for this group, whose origin is American and not European”, Concluded the UNAM.
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