Apart from "Aenigmachanna Gollum", a sister species called "Aenigmachanna mahabali" has been discovered.
Kerala has become the centerpoint of one of the most exciting findings in the fish world in recent times. Scientists have discovered a 100 million-year-old fish and its sister species in the state. The 100-year-old fish has been named after a character of “Lord of the Rings” – ‘Gollum’. The fish was found in the underground watery rocks, as per Indian Express Report.
The 100-million-year old fish is named “Aenigmachanna Gollum”. This belongs to the family of dragon snakeheads fish. These dragon snakeheads have managed to retain primitive characteristics. A research paper titled ‘Aenigmachannidae’ has been published. Researchers in this paper stated living fossils do play a prominent role to comprehend the diversification of the group. Apart from “Aenigmachanna Gollum”, a sister species called “Aenigmachanna mahabali” has been discovered, the IE report said.
Scientists are terming this as a rare discovery or sighting. This is because a new family of fish is discovered very rarely. The dragon snakeheads have eluded scientists for a long due to their habitat. These fishes stay in subterranean aquifers and only surface if there is heavy flooding.
The research paper also denotes that the diversity of animal life in the plant is endless. However, amidst this, few extant species do hold a unique position. These species help scientists understand their origin and the family they belong to.
It is interesting that social media has helped Gollum and Mahabali get recognition. It all started in 2018 when a fish researcher at Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies Rajeev Raghavan came across a post on social that talked about a curious fish. A person had found that fish in a well. Raghavan, who has co-authored the study, sent the photo to another researcher Ralf Britz. Subsequently, Raghavan and other officials collected more specimens of the fish to conduct the scientific study.
In 2019, the Gollum snakehead was identified. After that, the sister species ‘Mahabali’ snakehead was found by researchers.