Ancient reptiles discovered under a glacier

2014-05-30 12:02

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Cape Town – The fossils of dozens of ancient sea reptiles have been discovered in Chile.

According to Live Science, the discovery was made near a glacier that is slowly melting.

Scientists they have found a number of different types of species of ichthyosaurs (Greek for fish lizards).

These animals according to researchers were large reptiles that could swim exceptionally fast and lived in the Mesozoic Era, close to 250 million years ago.

Researchers found adults with embryos. It is suggested that the creatures probably died in a mudslide as they were preserved by an ocean-like sediment.

Ichthyosaurs are shaped almost like torpedoes, and have large vertical flippers that propel them forward. They also have long thin snouts with numerous teeth.

They most resemble dolphins, said Wolfgang Stinnesbeck, a German palaeontologist.

The specimens according to Stinnesbeck were discovered near the Tyndall Glacier in the Torres del Paine National Park.

What makes this discovery so great according to the researchers was the preservation of the fossils. They were preserved so well that some still had some soft tissues.

Scientists believe that reptiles hunted in water and mostly ate fish and squid-like creatures.

Another discovery

This is not the first discovery of fossils found in Chile this month. A group of students discovered a 7 000-year-old mummy during a trip to northern Chile.

La Tercera newspaper reported that the find was made by chance on Saturday during a visit to the Morro de Arica site by local students.

The children, at-risk youths enrolled in an archaeology workshop, were performing excavation work when one found a strange shape under dog droppings.

Ancient archaeological artefacts have been forced toward the surface following the powerful 8.2 earthquake that rocked the region in April, reports say.
Read more on:    chile  |  animals  |  environment  |  archaeology
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