Saber-toothed salmon of the Miocene to Pliocene (13 to 4 million years ago) are making a modern day comeback with the help of 3-D drawings based on fossils found in the Pacific Northwest. Sockeye’s fifth cousin several generations removed measured more than 6 feet long and is named for its mighty teeth—likely used to gnaw on pterodactyls and fend off competing males during the spawn.
Researchers at the University of Oregon used a CT scan of the fossil as a digital model. The 3-D replica was then generated by melting layers of plastic and stacking them until the fishy features were formed. The first piece of the printout—part of the lower jaw—was completed last month. Three additional pieces will be completed in the coming weeks.
“The fossil specimen includes the braincase, face, and jaw of a 6- to 7-foot-long fish that inhabited Pacific Northwest waters about 5 million years ago. The specimen, uncovered in 1964 near Madras, Ore., is housed among the paleontological collections at the UO Museum of Natural and Cultural History.”
Tom Bie is the founder, editor, and publisher of The Drake. He started the magazine in 1998 as an annual newsprint publication based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He then moved it to Steamboat, Colorado (1999), Boulder, Colorado (2001), and San Clemente, California (2004), as he took jobs as managing editor at Paddler, Senior Editor at Skiing, and Editor-in-Chief at Powder, respectively. Tom and The Drake are now both based in Denver, Colorado, where The Drake is finally all grows up(Swingers, 1996) to a quarterly magazine.