Xiphactinus choking in a Gillicus

Xiphactinus choking in a Gillicus

Supervised by Mike Everhart.

Xiphactinus means ‘’sword-ray’’, and is the name of a genus of large marine bony fish that lived during the Late Cretaceous. It somewhat resembles the now-living fanged tarpon. The largest species grew to 6 m., and were voracious predators; at least a dozen specimens of Xiphactinus have been collected with the remains of large, undigested or partially digested prey in their stomachs. In particular one 4 m fossil specimen was collected with another perfectly preserved
1.8 Gillicus fish inside of it! The larger fish apparently died soon after eating its prey, most likely owing to the smaller fish prey's struggling and rupturing an organ as it was being swallowed.