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Rare skeleton discovered in northwest Queensland

The rare skeleton of a 100 million-year-old fish with a swordfish-like head and monstrous teeth discovered near Richmond.Two Queensland families holidaying in the remote outback town of Richmond have together uncovered an exceptionally rare skeleton of a 100 million-year-old fish with an incredible swordfish-like head and monstrous teeth.
Nanjing Night Net

The discovery was made initially when the Johnston family,Margate, unearthed the complete lance-like snout of a fossil fish at one of the free fossil hunting sites near Richmond.

“At first we thought it was a tooth from some giant reptile, since it was so large and cone shaped,” said Mirjam Johnston.

“It wasn’t until that night we showed the bone to a fossil enthusiast at our camp site that we realised it was the tip of a very pointy fish nose.”

Tony and Gail Amos, one of two holidaying couples who found bones from a rare sword-fish skeleton near Richmond.

A week later Tony and Gail Amos,Agnes Waters, visited the same site and found the rest of the creatureincluding a complete skull, massive teeth, vertebrae, and the front fins.

“When I put my shovel in the ground I wasn’t expecting to find something so complete. I remember pulling up the layers of rock and realising there was bone poking out everywhere,” Mr Amos said.

Mr Amos knew that what he had found was something special and immediately brought it to the attention of Kronosaurus Korner, the local fossil museum, to help identify the specimen.

Kronosaurus Korner curator Dr Patrick Smithsaid the bones of the creature belonged to a species called Australopachycormus hurleyi, a 3 m long, swordfish-like predator with a pointed snout that was probably used to slash or stun prey.

“It great to see both these families working closely with the museum,”Dr Smith said.

“Without the help of guests, specimen such as this recent fish could easily been lost or destroyed.

The Australopachycormus hurleyi, a 3 m long, swordfish-like predator with a pointed snout that was used to slash or stun prey.

“Although it appears similar to a modern swordfish, it belonged to an unrelated extinct group known as the pachycormids.

“This is an excellent example of convergent evolutionwhereby two organisms, which are not closely related, independently evolve similar characteristics after adapting to same environment.”

“Fossils of Australopachycormus are exceptionally rare, which is demonstrated by the fact that the species was only discovered less than a decade ago.”

“Previous to this find we had no near-complete remains of the animal in our museum”.

Thefossil fish is currently on display at Kronosaurus Korner and is planned to be part of a new exhibit.

North Queensland Register

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