London: Scientists have discovered a new breed of giant plankton-eating fish which once filled the seas between 66 and 172 million years ago.
Researchers were aware of the similarities between the giant plankton-feeders of today and the fact that a large fish called Leedsichthys fulfilled the same role 160 million years
ago, but there were gaps in their knowledge. Not any more. Now, an international team, led by Glasgow University, which has found new fossils and re-examined others, for its
research believe the discovery is an important missing piece in evolutionary story of fish, mammals and ocean ecosystems.
"The fact that creatures of this kind were missing from the fossil record for over 100 million years seemed peculiar. What we have demonstrated here is that a long dynasty of giant bony fish filled this space in time for more than 100 million years.
"It was only after these fish vanished from the ecosystem that mammals and cartilaginous fish such as manta rays, basking sharks and whale sharks began to adapt to that ecological role," `The Daily Telegraph` quoted Dr Jeff Liston of Glasgow University, who led the study, as saying.