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Palaeontology

Huge 'sea monster' fossil found in Antarctica

November 15, 2016 | Comment icon 14 comments



Mosasaurs were top-level predators during the Cretaceous. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 L'eau Bleue
Palaeontologists have unearthed the fossil remains of a gigantic Cretaceous-era ocean predator.
Sea monsters might be the stuff of myths and legends today, but in the distant past the world's oceans were teeming with large carnivorous reptiles that could have swallowed a man whole.

The fossil skull of one such beast was recently discovered on Anatarctica's Seymour Island by scientists with the Chilean Palaeontological Expedition.

By measuring its physical attributes, the researchers were able to determine that the skull belonged to a creature measuring a whopping 33ft in length, making it the biggest ever found in the region.
It's name - Kaikaifilu hervei - references a sea monster legend from Chile's Mapuche culture.

"Prior to this research, the known mosasaur remains from Antarctica provided no evidence for the presence of very large predators like Kaikaifilu, in an environment where plesiosaurs were especially abundant," said palaeontologist Rodrigo Otero from the University of Chile.

"The new find complements one expected ecological element of the Antarctic ecosystem during the latest Cretaceous."

Source: Live Science | Comments (14)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by ShadowSot 6 years ago
It wasn't Antarctica at the time.†
Comment icon #6 Posted by EllJay 6 years ago
† There is.. "...Always a Bigger Fish" † † † †
Comment icon #7 Posted by Skulduggery 6 years ago
Nice find.
Comment icon #8 Posted by paperdyer 6 years ago
Do we really know that Antarctica wasn't there at the time this beast was alive?† I've read, a number of years ago, that India actually was part of Antarctica at one time.† If Antarctica was there it proves it wasn't ice laden before the event that took out the dinos.
Comment icon #9 Posted by oldrover 6 years ago
Antarctica, India, Australia, Africa and South America were all part of Gondwanaland. It wasn't ice covered back at the time of the K-Pg extinction event, and wouldn't be for tens of millions of years afterward. †
Comment icon #10 Posted by AdealJustice 6 years ago
its interesting to see many myths related to large creatures such as these. Some of the oldest cultures claim they are remnants of even older civilizations. Slowly but surely I think archeological evidence will start mounding to support these claims. Humans are likely older than we currently perceive and with that said we might be able to look at older origins for the emergence of sophisticated civilization.
Comment icon #11 Posted by aquatus1 6 years ago
In addition to what Oldrover said, Antartica (rather, Gondwanaland) wasn't in the physical location it is now.† It was closer to the equator, and subsequently, warmer.
Comment icon #12 Posted by oldrover 6 years ago
Creatures such as these? Mosasaurs became extinct in the multi eco-system collapse at the K-Pg extinction event. We aren't going to find new evidence that over turns this. Nor that humans were around at that time, it just isn't going to happen.† Plus, although people say myths and legends seem to reference animals such as dinosaurs, mosasaurs, pterosaurs, they really don't. What they actually tend to reflect is what the people who make those claims believe these animals†looked like. Which is usually about at least 30 years behind the current picture.† Take the mosasaur, it's a reptile, so that... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by AdealJustice 6 years ago
My apologies if I made it seem like I meant creatures of millions of years past. Even when the Australian aborigines cross over they met some very large land animals. Would it not be possible that some relative of these sized aquatic animals might have had interactions with early humans leading to the global myth making in regards to large sea creatures? thanks for the links! ill be sure to check those out. I really like that part you wrote about perception of animals vs what the animal really is. It could be quite possible to see a large whale and let the human imagination run wild into belie... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by oldrover 6 years ago
†The first people in Australia did meet several large land animals. There's a fair bit of work recently on what they met, but they would have encountered diprotodon, and possibly megalania. There were also then terrestrial crocodiles in Australasia, and huge horned, clubbed tailed land turtles, these two groups only going extinct as recently as 4 kya in some places.† As for sea creatures, there's the sea going salt water crocodile, which would have reached even larger sizes back in the Pleistocene. Other than that, I can't think of any large particularly distinctive sea creature that isn't the... [More]


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