Prehistoric fish carcasses wash ashore in US
An American naturalist h as discovered the carcass of a fish known since the age of the dinosaurs, also known as the Atlantic sturgeon, off the country’s east coast.
Allen Aklar spotted the nearly 1-meter-long creature on Assateague Island, a part of Maryland and Along the Virginia coast, east of the Delmarva Peninsula facing the Atlantic Ocean, stretches 60 kilometers.
A naturalist who specializes in Assateague wildlife and ecology, Sklar said the rare specimen was an Atlantic sturgeon, scientifically known as Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus.
The carcasses of Atlantic sturgeon wash up on the shores of Assateague Island. (Photo: Alan Sklar).
“I usually drive 20 kilometers along the coast about 100 days a year, so I see a lot of things that other people don’t see. This is the second Atlantic sturgeon carcass I’ve encountered on the island in the last 27 years”, Ѕklar share road.
Atlantic sturgeon live primarily in estuaries and coastal waters from Canada to Florida. They can grow up to 4.5 meters long and weigh more than 360 kilograms when fully grown, but are usually only 1.8-2.4 meters long and weigh about 140 kilograms, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Service.
This large armored fish appeared on Earth more than 120 million years ago, when dinosaurs were still roaming the earth, so it is also known as a “living fossil”. In the wild, they can often live to be 60 years old.
The Atlantic sturgeon has been compared to a living fossil because it has been around since the time of the dinosaurs. (Photo: llen Sklar)
Atlantic sturgeon used to be much more plentiful than it is today, but overfishing in the 19th and 20th centuries, combined with habitat degradation, led to dramatic declines. Four of five distinct Atlantic sturgeon populations in the United States are currently listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
Atlantic sturgeon were once found in the Chesapeake Bay and its freshwater rivers west of Astig Island, but are now rare in the area.