Science

Scientists name ancient shark species after arcade classic 'Galaga'

Scientists name ancient shark species after arcade classic 'Galaga'”

In a nod to her and the 1980s arcade game Galagadon - which featured spaceships that resemble the odd fossil teeth - the shark has been named Galagdon nordquistae. This paper can be found starting this week in the Cambridge Journal of Paleontology. Christened Galagadon nordquistae, the species was remarkably small, growing to approximately 12-18 inches (30.5-45 cm) in length.

"The more we discover about the Cretaceous period (145 million years to 66 million years ago) just before the non-bird dinosaurs went extinct, the more fantastic that world becomes", said Terry Gates, a lecturer at North Carolina State University. The Galagadon find is the latest testament to that.

Makovicky said the shark was a carpet shark, a bottom-dwelling fish and that, "Sue would probably not even have noticed this animal", but it is possible the shark lived in a river SUE drank from. "Without a microscope you would just throw them away", he said.

According to the Field Museum, the study also reflects the importance of learning about fossils beyond big, flashy dinosaurs.

"When you get those bones and identify them, you get an idea of the whole environment-everything that lived with the big dinosaurs".

"It amazes me that we can find microscopic shark teeth sitting right beside the bones of the largest predators of all time".

All that's left of Galagadon are two dozen tiny teeth, which were found in the same sediment that yielded Sue, the famous T. rex skeleton.

Sharks have been around for a long, long time, and of all the creatures that roam the Earth today they're one of the few that have remained largely unchanged for tens of millions of years. Instead, it probably spent much of its time on the floor of the riverbed eating invertebrates and small fish.

As for the name of the new shark, Galagadon Nordquistae, Makovicky said the genus name comes from the teeth being in the form of the spaceship from the Galaga video game. "This wasn't some Sharknado event - these animals were making their way up rivers from the sea". The species lived alongside dinosaurs during the Cretaceous period. "With occasional seaways connecting these young oceans, we have found fossils of marine life flourishing globally, including Galagadon and its relatives".

"Every species in an ecosystem plays a supporting role, keeping the whole network together", he says. "There is no way for us to understand what changed in the ecosystem during the time of the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous without knowing all the wonderful species that existed before". It costs a lot to produce.

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