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The big fish that went away . . .

12:32pm, November 13, 2004

From Denver, at a meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology

Deep-sea anglers, sit back in your deck chairs, close your eyes, and imagine fighting to land one of the monstrous fish that cruised the seas off South Carolina about 26 million years ago. Fossils found near Charleston suggest that adult members of Xiphiorhynchus rotundus, an extinct species of billfish related to today's swordfish and marlin, would easily exceed the lengths documented for world-record specimens of those oft-sought fish.

For a long time, X. rotundus was known only from a fossilized portion of its distinctive upper bill, says Harry Fierstine of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.

Now, paleontologists have une

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