The fossil skull once belonged to the lizard fish ichthyosaur, which according to SNL Their length can range from 1 to 30 meters.
Since the skull found in the United States measured two meters in length, it is believed that it may have belonged to an ichthyosaur that was 17 meters long and weighed an estimated 45 tons, he writes. CNN.
There have never been creatures larger than these, says Benjamin C. Moon, who researches species at the University of Bristol in England for New York times.
art is well known
Due to other biological discoveries made in the rock masses where fossils of ichthyosaurs were found, scientists were able to date the discovery to about five million years after the “Great Death”, in the Norwegian “Great Death”.
This describes the largest mass extinction on Earth, which occurred about 252 million years ago. according to Forsking About 80 percent of marine life became extinct in a relatively short time. 90 percent of all four-legged life on Earth was also implicated in the mass extinction.
The cause of the “Great Death” isn’t entirely clear, according to Forskning.no, but it may have been due to violent volcanic eruptions causing climate disruptions around the world.
Ichthyosaurs, a type of fish lizard, had the shape of a dolphin, and lived around the same time as dinosaurs — 251 to 100 million years ago, according to SNL.
Recent analyzes of the ichthyosaur’s skull have revealed a new species called Cymbospondylus youngorum.
According to CNN, ichthyosaurs, as part of a group of reptiles, returned to the ocean in the early Jurassic — the beginning of the age of the dinosaurs, 201 to 145 million years ago. Species quickly adapted to life in the sea.
The researchers wanted to find out how quickly Cymbospondylus youngorum’s body size had evolved, and they compared the evolution with that of whales. Like Cymbospondylus youngorum, the whales also walked on all fours on land, but returned to the sea, according to CNN.
And the researchers’ findings were surprising: While whales spent about 45 million years evolving into their largest species, the ichthyosaur species Cymbospondylus youngorum spent a comparison 3 million years ago, Lars Schmitz, professor of biology in WM Keck’s Department of Science, tells CNN.
The researchers wrote in press release.
What the fossil tells us is that if the conditions were just right, and there was a certain stability in the climate, then evolution could go at an amazing speed, says Schmitz.
– It’s really amazing. “It wasn’t much time since they went into the water that they suddenly took control of such a massive size,” Moon of the University of Bristol told the New York Times.
An ichthyosaur skull was discovered in the mountains of Nevada in 1998, but due to the inaccessible landscape, excavations did not begin until 2011, Schmitz told the newspaper.
Excavations were completed in 2015, and the fossil was moved to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles.
He himself was involved in the excavations, and is among the many behind the research report that was recently published in the research journal. Science.
He told the New York Times that even when half of the massive skull of Cymbospondylus youngorum was excavated, the sight was overwhelming.
It makes you feel very small, says Schmitz.
“Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer.”