Prehistoric Sea Monster Is One Of The Largest Animals Ever

Posted: Apr 10 2018, 10:36am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 10 2018, 11:07am CDT, in Latest Science News

 

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Prehistoric Sea Monster is One of the Largest Animals Ever
The 205 million-year-old jaw bone of a prehistoric giant ichthyosaur belongs to 'one of the largest animals ever' say a group of international palaeontologists. Image Credit: Dean Lomax, The University of Manchester
  • The 205-million-year-old jaw bone of a prehistoric reptile belongs to 'one of the largest animals ever' say a group of international paleontologists.

Ancient Ichthyosaur was as Big as the Modern Blue Whale

A humongous sea monster of the prehistoric past was as large as a Blue Whale. Living 205 million years ago, the ichthyosaur paddled its way through the waterways with its fins and tail. It fed on squid and fish. This enormous creature had a very large mandible.

Way back in 1850, beachgoers in England found fossils of this sea monster and thought they belonged to dinosaurs. Now we know better. They did not belong to any of the sauropods but belonged to the ichthyosaur.

The ichthyosaur became extinct about 66 million years ago. This was towards the end of the age of dinosaurs. The large jawbone, found once again in 2016, belonged to this majestic creature of the sea.

The mandible was 3.1 feet in length. The ichthyosaur was called the Shastasaurid, and it existed during the Triassic Period. This time span lasted from 251 million to 199 million years ago.

The sea creature probably had dimensions which made it 85 feet in length. Also, it was 25% bigger than the fossils found in recent times. Termed the Shonisaurus, the fossil record of it is more complete than that of the Shastasaurid.

Way back when this creature existed on earth, the surrounding conditions were very different from what they are today. The big continent Pangaea had just started to break up into smaller units which would become the modern-day land masses.

The UK, where the fossils were found, would have been a balmy tropical seaside region in those prehistoric times. The discovery is one of key significance to paleontologists.

The findings of this new fossil study got published today in the journal PLOS ONE.

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