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World's biggest fish on display
by Stephanie Todd
BBC News Online Scotland
A skeleton of the biggest fish ever to inhabit the world's oceans has been put
on display in Glasgow.
The fish, a leedsichthys problematicus - or Big Meg as the fossil has been
nicknamed - measures more than 15 metres in length.
Experts believe it would have swum the Middle Jurassic seas 155 million years
ago, at a time when dinosaurs dominated the land.
With more than 900 bones collected, Big Meg is said to be the most complete
specimen in any collection in the world.
The skeleton was sold to the Hunterian Museum, now part of Glasgow University,
in 1915 by the Peterborough fossil collector Alfred Leeds, whose wife Mary
Ferrier Fergusson came from Glasgow.
Jeff Liston, vertebrate researcher at the Hunterian Museum, said work to repair
the specimen only began five years ago.
But he said after much reconstruction, Big Meg looks a little more like a fish
with many large bones from the her skull, as well as some bones from the fins.
Mr Liston said: "The dorsal fin alone is over a metre long. The really large
marine animals of today like whale sharks or basking sharks feed on plankton,
which is what we believe Meg did.
"There are no teeth on this fish, but it had huge amounts of gill rakers which
it would use to filter plankton and small prey from the water."
The fossilised fish has now been put on display at the museum.
It is also due to be the subject of a forthcoming television programme in the
BBC's next Walking with Dinosaurs series.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2003/09/19 10:11:45 GMT