Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New species of dinosaur-era eel wriggles into history books as a 'living fossil' - 17th Aug 2011

A new species of eel has been discovered which is so old that it retains its dinosaur-era characteristics and has been branded a 'living fossil'.

The eel was found in a cave beneath the Pacific Ocean in the Republic of Palau, which is around 500 miles east of the Philippines.

The reddish brown eel is just 1.7 inches long and has many of the hallmarks of the primitive eels of the Mezozoic era - some 200million years ago.

Such is its anatomical age, the species has required an entirely new breed of classification from scientists, because none of the other 819 species, which are grouped into 19 families, would suffice.

It has been called Protoanguilla Palau, which is a mix of Greek and Latin meaning 'first eel', and is the only example of the newly-created taxonomic family, Protoanguillidae. Read More