The coelacanth isn’t called a “living fossil” for nothing. The 2-meter-long, 90 kg fish was thought to have gone extinct 70 million years ago—until a fisherman caught one in 1938—and the animal looks a lot like its fossil ancestors dating back 300 million years. Now, the first analysis of the coelacanth’s genome reveals why the fish may have changed so little over the ages. It also may help explain how fish like it moved onto land long ago.
Ichthyosaurus Fossil. Ichthyosaurs were reptiles (not fish) that lived during the Triassic (208 to 248 million years ago) and became extinct during the Cretaceous (65 to 146 million years ago) about 95 million years ago. They measured up to 40 feet long, had strong jaws, sharp teeth and big eyes to see their prey.
Oldest Preserved Spider Web Dates Back to Dinosaurs
The world’s oldest known spider web has been discovered on a beach in Sussex, England, trapped inside an ancient chunk of amber. Scientists found the rare amber fossil in December, and have now confirmed that it contains remnants of spider silk spun roughly 140 million years ago by an ancestor of modern orb-weaving spiders.
Helicoprion is a long-lived genus of extinct, shark-like eugeneodontid holocephalid fish. Almost all fossil specimens are of spirally arranged clusters of the individuals' teeth, called "tooth whorls." Helicoprion first arose in the oceans of the late Carboniferous 310 million years ago, survived the Permian–Triassic extinction event, and eventually became extinct during the Early Triassic, 250 million years ago. This fossilized jaw shows the spiral dentures.