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Atlantic Sturgeon Identified on 500-Year-Old Luxury Shipwreck

Friday, August 28, 2020

Denmark Barrel SturgeonLUND, SWEDEN—According to a statement released by Lund University, fish remains found in a barrel in the wreckage of the Gribshunden, a royal Danish ship that sank in the Baltic Sea in 1495, have been identified as a 6.5-foot Atlantic sturgeon. The Danish King Hans had loaded the vessel in Copenhagen with prestigious goods for Sten Sture the Elder and the Swedish court in Kalmar as part of his plan to claim the Swedish throne. Osteologist Stella Macheridis said the scutes, or boney plates, in the barrel made it clear that the giant fish was a sturgeon, but researchers had thought it was of the European variety. Recent DNA analysis, conducted by molecular biologist Maria C. Hansson, revealed the creature was a now-endangered Atlantic sturgeon, prized for its roe, flesh, and swim bladder, which could be used as a glue in the production of gold paint. Marine archaeologist Brendan P. Foley said the fish, like everything else on the Gribshunden, served as symbols of Danish power. For more on finds recovered from the Gribshunden, go to "A Baltic Sea Monster Surfaces."

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