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Dragonfish's flexible head joint an "evolutionary novelty"

Wednesday, February 01, 2017 - 01:13

Scientists discover a flexible head joint in barbeled dragonfishes - the first and only example of its kind known to exist among fishes.

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Scientists discover a flexible head joint in barbeled dragonfishes - the first and only example of its kind known to exist among fishes. STORY: Scientists have made a big discovery with this small fish - a flexible head joint, found in the deep sea dwelling barbeled dragonfish. The joint, seen here circled in yellow, connects the skull and vertebral column. It allows the fish a greater degree of maneuverability, enabling it to open its jaws 120 degrees. The flexible joint is the first and only example of its kind known to exist among fishes. The difference between them is clearly seen here, with the barbeled dragonfish's flexible joint on the left, and a standard fish's inflexible connection pictured on the right. Able to open its jaws to such a wide angle allows the barbeled dragonfish to ingest other fish that are nearly identical in size, as seen in this x-ray. The the flexible joint was discovered after scientists studied specimens from the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and five other natural history collections around the world. The Smithsonian referred to the finding as an "evolutionary novelty."

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Dragonfish's flexible head joint an "evolutionary novelty"

Wednesday, February 01, 2017 - 01:13