Nature & Animals

Vampire Squid Fossil Strayed During the Hungarian Revolution Found

Feb 22, 2021 08:52 AM EST

The vampire squid has been hiding for 30 million years in the shady corners of the ocean. A recent analysis of long-lost fossil uncovers vampyroteuthis infernalis, a current-day vampire squid that can flourish in intense, oxygen-poor ocean water, unlike several other squid species that need deeper habitat along with continental racks.

Few fossil ancestors of recent vampire squid have lived, although researchers aren’t certain when these ingenious cephalopods grew the means to survive with minor oxygen.  

Prague Charles University’s paleontologist and study co-author, Martin Košťák explained that the recent fossil investigation assists to cover a 120-million-year void in vampire squid development. He disclosed that the ancestors of nowadays vampire squid already survived in the lower oceans during the Oligocene, 23 million to 34 million years, the adjustments to little-oxygen water since the Jurassic.

Living in little-oxygen levels carries evolutionary benefits – little predation pressure and less rivalry.


(Photo : Merve Ekmekci)

Fossil Re-uncovered

Košťák uncovered the long-lost fossil with his colleagues in the compilations of the 2019  Hungarian Natural History Museum, while searching for ancestors of fossil cuttlefish. The fossil was initially uncovered by Hungarian paleontologist Miklós Kretzoi in 1942, who recognized it as a squid going back across 30 million years and called it Necroteuthis hungarica.

Later scientists, though, contended that it was an ancestor cuttlefish. During the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, the murine caught fire, and the fossil was believed to have been eradicated. Re-uncovering was a delighted amazement. 

Košťák explained that it was a huge moment to see something initially indicated to be definitely lost. Himself and his colleagues researched the fossil using scanning electron microscopy and performed a geochemical examination.

They first discovered that Kretzoi’s previous uncovering was correct: the fossil is not a cuttlefish ancestor but a squid.

The animal’s gladius or inside shell, which creates the backbone of its body, was almost 15 centimeters (6 inches) long, indicating the squid grew to about 35 centimeters (13.7 inches) long with arms involved.

That’s just a little bigger than the modern vampire squid, which extends about 28 centimeters (11 inches) in entire body length.

ALSO READ: Cuttlefish Can Elude Sharks With Crafty Arm-Tossing [WATCH]

The Remnants Surrounding the Fossil 

The remnants enclosing the fossil revealed no tracks of microfossils often discovered on the seafloor, indicating that the squid was not surviving in shallow waters. The scientists also examined levels of differences in carbon, in the remnants and discovered that the remnants possibly came from a little-oxygen or anoxic, environment.

Those conditions are typical of the lower ocean floor. By glancing at rock layers where the fossils were laid outside of what is now modern Budapest, the scientists were also qualified to demonstrate that the squid couldn’t have likely lived at the time in the deep waters. The deep waters residues indicated elevated levels of specific plankton that blossoms in little-salt, huge nutrient habitats – climates that nowadays vampire squid can’t condone.

cuttle fish

(Photo : May Law)

Adjusting to the Deep

Košťák recent research, released in the Biology Communications journal reminds us of how vampire squid ancestors learned to survive where another squid couldn’t. Glancing at the deeper fossil record, the oldest fossil from this group of squid is based on the Jurassic period, between 174 million years ago. They are typically discovered in anoxic remnants.

RELATED ARTICLE: Jurassic 10-Armed Squids Were Swift Swimmers, Researchers Say

For more news, update about squids and similar stories don’t forget to follow Nature World News!

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