New fish species discovered in Mexico

Over 110 million years old

SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS. - Mexican scientists have discovered fossils of two new species of fish that are over 110 million years ago old, in southern Mexico in the state of Chiapas, officials said.

The two new fossils were assigned scientific names "Pepemkay maya" and "Zoqueichthys carolinae," in honor of the Mayan and Zoque cultures that are still present in this area of the South East, said the Ministry of Environment and Natural History of Chiapas (SEMAHN).

The Paleontology Department director, Marco Antonio Coutiño, said that the fossils were subjected to various studies to determine their characteristics, and also mentioned that both belong to the superorder "Acantomorpha", "which now accounts for almost a third of all living vertebrates ".

He added that the fossils were found in the community of El Chango, in the municipality of Ocozocoautla de Espinosa, in central Chiapas which is characterized by the large number of fossils that are found in this area.

"The Pepemkay Maya has a spineless skull, dorsal fin rays with 5 spines and 8 soft bones, while Zoqueichthys carolinae differs by presenting a flat crest, and the pelvic and pectoral fins are formed by 8 and 12 soft bones respectively," explained Bruno Than Marchese, head of the Semahn.

He added that the discovery of these species, which have also been found in Croatia, the United Kingdom, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, Portugal and Antarctica, now makes Chiapas a "mega-diverse territory in prehistoric times."

The fossils are currently in the Collection of the Paleontological Scientific Secretary of the Environment, and will soon be exhibited in the museum "Eliseo Palacios Aguilera" in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas.


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