When science finally reaches the point where it’s possible to clone dinosaurs, I’ll finally make my millions. Instead of creating a Jurassic Park full of T-Rexes and raptors, I’m going to create a dinosaur land just for anglers, with streams and lakes filled with fish that make the stuff Jeremy Wade chases on “River Monsters” look like bluegills. Take, for example, the Laccognathus embryi depicted in the illustration below. The fossilized of skull of this nasty bugger with 2-inch fangs was recently discovered in the Canadian tundra. This is what swam in North American rivers long before smallmouth and trout.
According to this story on the website of National Geographic, L. embryi was around during the Devonian Period, which occured about 375 million years ago. If you were going to go back in time to fish freshwater, you’d want to go Devonian, because the fish would have been big enough for a hell of a fight, but not quite brutal enough to kill you.
Ted Daeschler, the zoologist that led the team that found the fossilized skull (left) said, “The Devonian was a fish-eats-fish kind of world. There was a real arms race going. If you were a smaller fish and didn’t have good armor on your body, you were very vulnerable.”
The article likens L. embryi to a grouper, which would hang low to the bottom and lunge at any smaller fish that came by. So years from now, when you visit my Jurassic Fishing Park, bring steel leader.