The American paddlefish is one of the largest freshwater fish in North
America. Closely related to the sturgeon, it is one of only two extant
taxa in the paddlefish family (the other being the Chinese paddlefish).
Fossil records of paddlefish date back over 300 million years ago,
nearly 50 million years before dinosaurs appeared. The American
paddlefish is referred to as a relict species (because it retains some
morphological characteristics of its early ancestors) even though it is
highly derived with evolutionary adaptations specifically for filter
feeding. The rostrum and cranium of American paddlefish are covered with
tens of thousands of sensory receptors for locating swarms of
zooplankton, their primary food source. American paddlefish are native
to the Mississippi River Basin and once moved freely under the
relatively natural, unaltered conditions that existed prior to the early
1900s. Their numbers have declined dramatically primarily because of
overfishing, habitat destruction, and pollution. They are currently
found in only twenty-two U.S. states, and their range has been reduced
to the Mississippi and Missouri river tributaries and Mobile Bay
Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_paddlefish>
Today's selected anniversaries:
An expedition led by English explorer James Cook reached
Christmas Island (pictured), the largest coral atoll in the world.
The Treaty of Ghent was signed in Ghent, in present-day
Belgium, ending the War of 1812 between the United Kingdom and the
More than one third of the cadets enrolled in the United States
Military Academy in West Point, New York, rioted over the smuggling of
whiskey to make eggnog for a Christmas Day party.
The Viet Cong bombed the Brinks Hotel in Saigon, killing two US
Army officers, raising fears of an escalation in the Vietnam War.
Cyclone Tracy struck Darwin, Australia, eventually destroying
more than 70 percent of the city.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
1. A cocktail made from vodka and beef bouillon.
2. (neologism, video games) A phony screenshot created for promotional
Wikiquote quote of the day:
I feel like a spinning top or a Dreidel The spinning don't stop
when you leave the cradle You just slow down Round and around this world
you go Spinning through the lives of the people you know We all slow
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