Scientists in India have found a 152 million-year-old fossil of an ichthyosaur – an extinct marine reptile – within the western state of Gujarat.
That is the primary time an ichthyosaur fossil has been found in India.
The fossil was discovered inside rocks from the Mesozoic Period, which ran between 252 and 66 million years in the past, within the Kutch desert.
Prof Guntupalli VR Prasad, who led the research, stated the 5.5m (18ft) specimen was virtually full.
Solely elements of the cranium and tail bones have been discovered to be lacking.
The findings have been revealed within the Plos One science journal.
“It is a exceptional discovery not solely as a result of it’s the first Jurassic ichthyosaur document from India, but in addition it throws gentle on the evolution and variety of ichthyosaurs within the Indo-Madagascan area and India’s organic connectivity with different continents within the Jurassic,” Mr Prasad stated.
The crew, which comprised scientists from India and Germany, believes the newly found specimen might be recognized with Ophthalmosauridae, a household of ichthyosaurs that lived within the oceans between 165 and 90 million years in the past.
- Typically misidentified as “swimming dinosaurs”, they first appeared within the early Triassic interval (251 million to 199 million years in the past)
- The identify means fish-lizard, though the creature has been categorized as a reptile for the reason that mid-19th Century
- Its size ranged from 1m to 14m – though the common size was 2m to 3m
- The creature was famous for its sharp, sturdy enamel.
- Ichthyosaurs turned extinct round 90 million years in the past.
Supply: Encyclopaedia of Paleontology.
An announcement from the crew stated the identification of the brand new specimen might additional throw gentle on whether or not there was any marine connection between India and South America about 150 million years in the past.
An examination of the enamel of the fossil means that it was a top-tier predator in its ecosystem, it added.