Fossil of 90-mln-year-old dolphin-like reptile discovered

Fossil of 90-mln-year-old dolphin-like reptile discovered

 Scientists have discovered the nearly complete fossils of what may be a dolphin-like reptile which swam in ancient oceans more than 90 million years ago.

Researchers were hiking in a remote riverbed of South Texas in the US when they spotted a row of bones imprinted on a rock.

When they cleared away some dirt, they discovered the fossil trapped in the Eagle Ford limestone.

"Very rarely do we get really complete skeletons out of the Eagle Ford," said Josh Lively, a PhD candidate at the University of Texas in Austin.

"Whenever you have an associated skeleton like this, when you have multiple parts of the animal, it's a really important find," Lively said.

Ichthyosaurs were a mix of mammal and reptile that grew to about six feet long, with the fast-moving body of a dolphin and the toothy jaws of a dinosaur.

They were disappearing when the Eagle Ford formed, between 88 million and 96 million years ago, the 'Houston Chronicle' reported.

Before this, the latest ichthyosaur found in Texas was 97 million years old. The new fossil dates back about 92 million years making it the oldest example of an ichthyosaur found in North America, according to Lively.

However, researchers are not completely sure that the fossil belongs to an ichthyosaur. According to Lively, it could be a plesiosaur - a much larger underwater reptile that resembles the Loch Ness monster.

The fossil would need to be studied closely in the laboratory, where researchers can see more accurately date it before definitively identifying it.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry