As per a report published in journal Nature on March 16, 2016, scientists at Field Museum along with researchers from Yale University, Argonne National Laboratory and American Museum of Natural History have found out that the so-called Tully Monster was a ‘Vertebrate’.
Francis Tully had firstly discovered this Tullimonstrum gregarium monster in the year 1958 and since then, the scientists are making attempts for determining what kind of creature it exactly was. Some scientists thought it was a segmented worm or a free-swimming slug, however, there was no evidence for supporting this claim.
Researchers say that T-gregarium lived roughly 307 million years ago in an aquatic environment and it had a strange appearance with a 14-inch torpedo-like body, rows of conical teeth and jointed snout. Having a vertical tail fin, the eyes of this creature were set on a horizontal, rigid bar.
A key aspect of the anatomy of this monster is a notochord or a stiffened rod. Not only does it give a proof of the creature being a vertebrate but it shows that the rod was used as a gut as well as a primitive spinal cord.
Invertebrates Collections Manager of the Field Museum, Paul Mayer stated that the monsters have a relation with jaweless fishes that are still known by a unique combination of traits, including traces of notochord, rows of teeth and primitive gills.
The creature spends majority of its time in shallow seas where it intermingles with sea life such as shrimps, horseshoe crabs, fish and amphibians.
To eat, the Tully monster grasps prey with its snout and then scrapes food off with its tongue. Currently, researchers are unaware of what it eats and whether it was a scavenger or a predator.
The researchers are quite delighted with this discovery.