Experts from the University of Bristol and the University of Zurich revealed that the Titanichthys – a giant armored fish that lived in the seas and oceans of the late Devonian period 380-million-years ago, used to feed in a similar manner to basking sharks.
Titanichthys is one of the largest animals in the Devonian
This has been known to be one of the largest animals of the Devonian. It’s important to note the fact that its size is pretty hard to determine, but it probably exceeded five meters in length – just like the basking shark its lower jaw reached some lengths that exceed a meter.
There was no previous evidence regarding the way in which the Titanichthys used to feed.
The lower jaw of Titanichthys is pretty narrow according to the latest reports coming from Phys.org and it lacks dentition or sharp edges that are usually used for cutting.
Due to these reasons, it was previously believed that the Titanichthys was a suspicion feeder – this means that it used to feed on minute plankton by swimming slowly with the mouth opened through the water in order to capture a high concentration of plankton.
Just in case you didn’t know, this technique is called continuous ram feeding.
On the other hand, it’s important to note that this was not a certain thing because no fossilized evidence of suspension-feeding structures fish has been ever discovered.
Comparing the lower jaw of Titanichthys with the ones of otheer species
The team chose to analyze this question in an indirect way and they used biomechanical analysis in order to compare the lower jaw of Titanichthys with the ones of other species.
According to the latest reports coming from Phys.org, the findings have been published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.
The study’s lead author Sam Coatham stated the following: “We have found that Titanichthys was very likely to have been a suspension-feeder, showing that its lower jaw was considerably less mechanically robust than those of other placoderm species that fed on large or hard-shelled prey.”
Check out more details in the original article.