A huge and terrifying predator 244 million years old has been discovered underwater

Researchers have just made a big discovery. They found a 244 million-year-old fossil. This fossil belongs to a huge and terrifying underwater predator that ruled during the Triassic period.

It was the largest animal that ever lived under water. Currently the most The southern blue whale is 30 meters long and 170 tons. Modern cetaceans have grown in size over tens of millions of years.

Illustration of Cymbospondylus youngorum – Credit: Stephanie Abramowicz

A new study published in the journal Science Hinge The discovery of a huge animal under the water, an ichthyosaur, which evolved faster than cetaceans. Researchers estimate that this animal was a formidable predator of the Triassic period that existed 8 million years after the first ichthyosaurs. It is Cymbospondylus youngorum.

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The skull of the underwater Triassic predator was two meters long

The Triassic is a pre-Jurassic period that stretched from -251 to -201.6 million years ago. Ichthyosaurs were marine reptiles that appeared before the dinosaurs. Researchers discover 244 million years old ichthyosaur fossils. This indicates a very rapid development in scale. This creature is a new species of Cymbospondylus, a genus of diapside marine reptiles.

Cymbospondylus youngorum . skull
Skull of Cymbospondylus youngorum – Credit: Natalja Kent, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History (NHM).

According to the researchers, the predator was underwater ” The largest tetrapod known in its time, on land or at sea, and the first in a series of ocean giants ». His skull alone was two meters long. The researchers also assumed its rapid and impressive growth. They believe that tetrapods primarily feed on ammonites, which were abundant during this time. ” Ichthyosaurs appear to have benefited from the abundance of surface conodonts and ammonites after recovering from the late Permian mass extinction. ‘, they explained.

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Below is a user generated clone of the underwater predator Twitter “PrimevalArtist”. It was more than 17 meters long The size of a sperm whale, making it the largest animal discovered in this period.

Dr. Jorge Velez, associate curator for marine mammals at the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History, concluded that “ This discovery and the results of our study highlight how different groups of marine tetrapods developed body sizes of epic proportions under somewhat similar conditions, but at surprisingly different rates. ».

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source : BGR

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