Jun
28
2009

The Story of the Great Prout

Piranha
PiranhaCourtesy AlexeyDr
While working on a river as a guide last summer I was able to tell many stories, one of which was about the infamous prout. A prout is a cross breed of piranha and trout produced by the US government in World War II. With the carnivorous teeth of the piranha and large, fast body of the trout the government hoped that the fish would become a water defence system if the war ever came to our shores and rivers. While some people will fall for this outlandish story (you would be surprised what people will believe when you speak confidently) there have been new findings in a fossil of one of the missing links between plant eating fish and present day piranhas.

Plant eating fish have two rows of flat, square teeth but, the meat eating piranha has one row of triangular teeth with sharp edges. The fossil of a Megapiranha paranensis was found in the early 1900's on a river bank in Argentina and was left sitting in a drawer unstudied until the 1980's. It consists of the jaw bone and shows a zig-zaged line of teeth that could be proof of the transition from two to one row of teeth.

Further research continues to support that this fish is a long lost ancestor of our piranha having lived 8 to 10 million years ago in the South American rivers. Although its diet is unknown it would still be an unpleasant visitor at a length of about 3 ft, much larger then any prout you may run into.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

shaunalynn10's picture

interesting..thats an ugly fish

posted on Tue, 06/30/2009 - 5:31pm

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