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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Catfish with pointy teeth like an alien

Its form is small, about 10 cm long, but the appearance of this fish is very scary, with a mouth full of pointy teeth. According to the researchers, the animal resembles a terrifying creature from the 'Alien' movie. Now it becomes a big mystery for scientists who study it.
A close-up scanned image of the bony structures in the face of Kryptoglanis shajii -- somewhat resembling the creature from the movie Alien -- was a surprise to researchers at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Kryptoglanis has four rows of sharp, conical teeth on a compressed snout. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/1moZeIe)
The fish species with the name Kryptoglanis shajii, is a type of small catfish that lived in a basement. Uniquely, it has a number of features that resemble a skeleton. For example, a bulging lower jaw like a bulldog. Face the strange bony fish also confuse the researchers, who have so far not been able to classify it.

Humans rarely met with this little catfish. Moreover, animals that live only in one remote area in the world: the Western Ghats Mountains in Kerala, India. However, living in the basement, it is known to occasionally appear in springs, wells, or flooded rice fields in the region.
This is a collected, preserved specimen of the subterranean catfish Kryptoglanis shajii, shown in a man's hand for scale. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/1moZeIe)
The underground creatures are very difficult to understand, so scientists do not catagorized it as a new species, until the year of 2011. At that time, John Lundberg, a curator emeritus of Ichthyology (the study of fish) at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia began to observe the fish from close.

"The longer we look at the frame, the more bizarre it seems," Lundberg said, as quoted by LiveScience on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. "Characteristics of these animals are very different, we find it difficult to match them to the catfish family tree."

From the outside, Kryptoglanis shajii similar to other catfish. But, when observed more closely, produced some quite startling discoveries. Lundberg and his team used digital radiography and CAT scanner to study the bone structure of Kryptoglanis. By the way it is known, the fish do not have some of bone elements like others. However, the findings do not to make a stir. Other experts explained, the fish that live in the basement did not have owned a number of bone elements among them.
The other researchers precisely surprising at a number of bones form of Kryptoglanis, which is truly unique among any species of fish. It has a snout like a bulldog. Small fish it also has four rows of sharp teeth pointy toes. Lundberg speculated, that some unique bone structure in one part of the body of fish that could mean that there is a functional purpose behind all the weirdness.

"As in dogs, which is the result of selective breeding," said Lundberg. "In Kryptoglanis, we do not know whether in the natural evolution of the deformation they cause."The results of Lundberg led study has been published in the scientific journal of Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 2014.

The Kryptoglanis mystery also received attention from other researchers. One of them, Ralf Britz, a fish researcher from Natural History Museum of London. He and his team also examined the unique bone structure of the fish. The research is published in the Exploration of Freshwaters ichthyological scientific journal on March 2014 edition.

Unlike the Lundberg whose conducted by using high-resolution X-ray that produces three-dimensional images, Britz and his team used a special technique called cleaning and staining. This method uses a framework to visualize the chemicals to make the soft tissue of fish visible in clear glass, bone and cartilage otherwise appear colored.

However, although widely studied, type of catfish fishing is still a mystery. One of them, no one has managed to uncover why Kryptoglanis so unique among all the fish, or any species that is considered as the closest relatives. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | LIVESCIENCE]
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