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Prehistoric 'sea monster' was truly gigantic


Posted on Tuesday, 10 April, 2018 | Comment icon 5 comments

Skull of Shonisaurus - another large ichthyosaur. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Machairo
Scientists have found the fossil remains of an ichthyosaur that was almost the size of a blue whale.
The blue whale's status as the largest creature to have ever lived on planet Earth may be in jeopardy following the discovery of a truly enormous species of prehistoric ichthyosaur.

These dolphin-like marine reptiles, which lived alongside the dinosaurs, first appeared around 250 million years ago and survived up until around 90 million years ago.

While some ichthyosaurs were known to have reached significant sizes, this newly discovered species, which was unearthed in southwestern England, is the largest yet.

Measuring a whopping 85ft in length, it was a true monster of the prehistoric seas.

Its discovery could also indicate the possible existence of other, even larger ichthyosaurs.

"As soon as I saw it in person, my jaw just hit the floor," said marine reptile experts Dean Lomax. "I realized this was a giant ichthyosaur and the biggest thing ever found in the UK."



Source: National Geographic | Comments (5)

Tags: Ichthyosaur

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by pallidin on 10 April, 2018, 13:46
I've swam in oceans, seen some fish, but nothing like THAT. Creeps me out.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Tom the Photon on 14 April, 2018, 18:50
Palaeontology rocks! They find the tiniest fraction of a single vertebra and from that they extrapolate a new huge species of ichthyosaur. Anyone would think they're exaggerating just to make headlines...
Comment icon #3 Posted by Grignr on 15 April, 2018, 11:07
Or in this case where they found most of the jawbone of a recognisable species and worked out the size of animal that would have been needed to support that jaw. I guess the question is what's more likely, that there were enough examples of animals of this size that one was able to be fossilised. Or that one overgrown/mutant example happened to be the one in several million example to be caught in that process.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Podo on 16 April, 2018, 18:08
It's not just a guess though. You can look at a bone and know that the other bones attached to it would need to be a similar size. It's not as though a tiny critter is going to have a jaw the size of the one in the article.
Comment icon #5 Posted by jmccr8 on 16 April, 2018, 18:33
you never met my ex jmccr8


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