100 million year old fossils found in Australia

Sydney, July 21 (IANS) The discovery of fish fossils estimated to be 100 million years old has excited Australian paleontologists who said on Tuesday that it filled missing pieces in their knowledge of the period.

The discovery of the fossils near the town of Julia Creek in the state of Queensland will provide an insight into Australia’s ancient inland sea which is now a rugged outback country, reported Xinhua news agency.

Paleontologist Timothy Holland told the AAP news agency the fossils include a huge primitive fish dating back 100 million years.

They include the huge eye-socket of a primitive fish called the cooyoo and the skeletons of 20 to 30 diminutive fishes.

Holland said the cooyoo discovery was significant because it showed the species’ teeth were two centimetres long, much bigger than previously thought.

“It suggests the cooyoo was probably targeting large fish … its teeth were well adapted for latching onto slippery prey,” Holland said.

The fish was also more than three metres in length and had a powerful tail that made it look like the “tarpon from hell”, he said.

The discovery of the fish skeletons is the best preserved example of smaller fish from Australia’s ancient inland sea.

“They never come whole, so finding one of these fish would have been exciting but we have 30 of them protected inside a clam shell,” Holland said.

Julia Creek is one of the main attractions on Australia’s dinosaur fossil trail.

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