Researchers Find 12 Meter Long Plesiosaur Near Antarctica
PALEONTOLOGISTS FROM ARGENTINA’S NATIONAL SCIENTIFIC and Technical Research Council were working at the northernmost tip of Antarctica when they stumbled onto something unexpected—the bones of a prehistoric giant known as plesiosaur. These long-necked marine reptiles arose during the late Triassic, some 200 million years ago, and diffused widely during the Jurassic, 150 million years ago.
“At this site, you can find a great diversity of fish, ammonites, some bivalves, but we did not expect to find such an ancient plesiosaur,” Soledad Cavalli, a paleontologist with the National Scientific and Technical Research Council in Argentina, explains. “The discovery is pretty extraordinary, because the rock types at the site weren’t thought conducive to the preservation of bones, like the vertebrae of this marine reptile.”
The ancient creatures are thought to have feasted largely on fish, using their highly specialized bodies to navigate ocean waters and snatch their prey with powerful jaws. The aquatic reptiles must have been quite skilled predators given that past fossil evidence has revealed specimens which grew to be nearly 40 feet from nose to tail.
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