A new fossil found in the archives of the Hungarian Natural History Museum has been identified as an ancient vampire squid.
LiveScience reported that the squid is was found by study co-author Martin Košťák, a paleontologist at Charles University in Prague and colleges in 2019.
The fossil was originally discovered in 1942 and thought to be a squid. However, it was later argued to be a cuttlefish ancestor. The fossil disappeared for a while, thought to have been destroyed in a fire.
Košťák and his colleagues studied the fossil and determined it was from the Jurassic period with low-oxygen adaptions in anoxic sediments rather than the deep ocean.
“The major difference is that these oxygen-depleted conditions were established in the shelf, [a] shallow water environment,” he said in an email to LiveScience. “This means that the ancestors were inhabitants of shallow-water environs, but they were already adapted to low-oxygen conditions.”
Modern-day vampire squid live deep, near the ocean floor, this new fossil helps bring more understanding to the evolution of the squid.
“Life in stable low-oxygen levels brings evolutionary advantages — low predation pressure and less competition,” Košťák explained.
This connection will help with further studies of squid and their adaption history.
Picture: @frimpys/ Twitter