Scientists are always finding new creatures that help to paint a picture of the past. The same can be said for the moment they found a Jurassic vampire quid who has been forever immortalized with its final meal. It’s eerie, but the find is more important than it first seems.
The pair in question
180 million years ago, a Jurassic vampire squid had no idea that its final meal would also be its last moments on Earth. The pair were found in an abandoned quarry in southern Germany, where they have been fossilized ever since they embarked on their eternal embrace. The creature that was supposed to be eaten before it fell to its doom is none other than an argonaut, a deep-sea shelled octopus. However, it’s the vampire squid that caught many people’s attention, mainly because it’s not a vampire or a squid. It actually earned its name thanks to its eight arms and cape-like skin that creates the terrifying look. Both were a part of the Octobrachia group, but neither knew they would fall to their doom.
Forever immortalized with its final meal
Vampire squids still exist today, but they are a lot smaller and eat plankton rather than other giant octopi. The prey in question is thought to have been about six-and-a-half inches long, while the Jurassic vampire squid was once about 18 inches long. The Swiss Journal of Paleontology released a study about the pair in March 2021 and noted the shale slab holding the two helped preserve them in “exceptional” detail. However, there is so much more to the duo than first meets the eye. Being kept in this way and found where they were has helped teach paleontologists about how the Jurassic vampire squid hunted – and where it went so wrong.
Learning about the past
It’s thought the Jurassic vampire squid was so happy with its latest catch that it didn’t realize it was sinking to the bottom of the water. Going too low meant that it quickly ran out of oxygen and plunged into the mud where it has been forever immortalized with its final meal. The researchers looking into the specimen have learned that the Jurassic vampire squid showed diverse feeding strategies, but it hadn’t learned how to deal with low oxygen levels in the water. Today’s vampire squids have since adapted to cope with less oxygen for certain feeding times. It’s believed that the prey octopus was also stunned by the lack of oxygen and didn’t have a choice other than to stay in the arms of its prey until they both lost their lives. In the end, the lack of oxygen helped ward off any scavengers and preserved them better than anyone could have imagined.
Many of us have had those moments when it feels like we could eat until we pass out, but what about going so far that your final meal costs you your life? That was the case for this Jurassic vampire squid, who has been forever immortalized with its final meal.A