Researchers found what is believed to be the oldest fossil of a Jurassic sea monster from India. The discovery was published in the journal PLOS ONE. It is a rare discovery because the Kachchh region is an unusual place to find vertebrate fossils.
More on the discovery
Paleontologists from India worked 1,500 hours of digging to uncover the skeleton of a ten million years old ichthyosaur. The marine reptile is five meters long and it is believed to have looked similar to whales or dolphins. The skeleton was intact and it is a rare finding, which could redefine everything paleontologists believed about the spread of the Jurassic era creatures. Most fossils are found in the north and it was a pleasant surprise to find one in Indian territory.
Researcher Guntupalli V.R. Prasad gave an interview to PLOS research news and he gave some information about ichthyosaurs. During the time the fish reptile lived, there was only one single continent, Pangaea and these were dominating the sea together with sharks and other marine reptiles,
The skeleton was found south of Lodai, in the Gujarat province. The discovery was made in 2016 and the bones were encased in sedimentary rock. The excavators had to work in difficult conditions with temperatures of around 100 degrees Fahrenheit and being careful to preserve the skeleton.
Experts analyze the fossil
According to Prasad, the teeth of the sea monster indicated that the ichthyosaur was a very good predator which fed on hard and abrasive foods such as mollusks, fish or other marine reptiles. Thanks to this finding which included the teeth, researchers could learn more regarding the sea monster’s diet. The reptile is believed to share a relationship with reptiles discovered farther north and part of a massive seaway continent named Gondwanaland.