Saturday, 1 April 2017

New Research on Giant Marine Creatures

How giant marine reptiles terrorized the ancient seas
Ichthyosaurs were some of the largest and most mysterious predators to ever prowl the oceans. Now they are giving up their secrets.
Extracts from article :
As  discoveries started to pile up, he got hooked. Fischer, now at the University of Li├Ęge, Belgium, and his colleagues have since described seven surprising new ichthyosaurs, ranging from a tuna-sized reptile with thin, sharp teeth1 to an animal as big as a killer whale, with a beak like that of a swordfish2.
Fischer is part of an ichthyosaur renaissance that is sweeping palaeontology. After ignoring them for decades, more and more researchers have started to focus on the reptiles, which were among the top predators in the seas for some 150 million years during the days of the dinosaurs.
The swell of research is starting to answer key questions about ichthyosaurs, such as how and where they originated and how quickly they came to rule the oceans. The group was even more diverse than once thought, ranging from early near-shore creatures that undulated like eels to giants that cruised the open ocean by swishing their powerful tails. “They could go anywhere, just like whales,” Motani says. The biggest ones rivalled blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) in length and were the largest predators in the Triassic seas.

Nessie seekers will be interested in the ones that undulated like eels.

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