The “eagle shark” floated in the oceans 93 million years ago

Still, researchers are convinced of that Aquilolamna milarcae he moved slowly. “It can be compared to a dragon dragon, which is not at all suitable for fast swimming and prey hunting,” said Vullo.

With its slow movement, its large, short head and the fact that no teeth were found in its jaw, indicate that the eagle shark may have fed on plankton, and not that it was a predator.

In the Cretaceous period in which Aquilolamna lived, the only creatures known to filter plankton from water were large bony fish from the Pachycormidae family, while sea beans had a cartilage skeleton, like modern sharks and air.

Two groups, Pachycormidae and Aquilolamnadisappear in the great wave of extinction that marked the end of the Cretaceous 66 million years ago, when a huge meteorite hit Earth and, among other things, greatly reduced the presence of plankton in the oceans.

The ecological niche of Pachycormidae is occupied by the Tertiary, the geological period after the Cretaceous, large planktonic sharks such as the current whale shark and shark. “The shark eagle has been gradually replaced by manta rays and manta reefs, which develop in the early Tertiary period,” Vullo said.

The fact that no teeth were found in the jawbone of the fossil specimen suggests that the species had very small teeth. Vullo hopes that future discoveries will allow us to establish a connection between Aquilolamna and isolated from tiny teeth previously found in deposits of the same age. They could belong to a “rather confusing plankton swallow,” and that could be sharks.