Monday, May 31, 2010

May 31, 2010 : Dunkleosteus (Extinct)


Dunkleosteus (From "(David) Dunkle" + osteus (οστεος, Greek: bone); meaning "Dunkle's Bone") is a prehistoric fish, one of the largest arthrodire placoderms ever to have lived, existing during the Late Devonian period, about 380-360 million years ago.

This hunter, measuring up to 10 metres (33 ft) and weighing 3.6 tonnes (4.0 short tons), was a hypercarnivorousapex predator. Few other placoderms, save, perhaps, its contemporary, Titanichthys, rivaled Dunkleosteus in size.

Dunkleosteus is a member of the pachyosteomorph arthrodires, and is more specifically usually placed in the family Dinichthyidae, a family composed mostly of large, carnivorous arthrodires like Gorgonichthys. Anderson (2009) suggests that because of its primitive jaw structure Dunkleosteus should be placed outside the family Dinichthyidae, perhaps close to the base of the clade Pachyosteomorpha, near Eastmanosteus, but this idea has yet to be tested.

This is the first extinct organism that will be appearing on the site. More will be featured periodically.

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