In a first, a near- complete fossilised skeleton of a Jurassic ichthyosaur - large marine reptile which lived alongside dinosaurs - has been discovered in India, scientists said.
Scientists in India have made a startling discovery. They said that the fossil of a Jurassic age sea-dwelling reptile known as a ‘fish lizard’ has been found from a village in the Kutch district of Gujarat. Experts believe that 5.5 metre ichthyosaur is atleast 90 million years old. Ichthyosaurs were large reptiles that lived at the same time as dinosaurs. Its fossils were mainly found in the North America, Europe, South America and Australia. PLOS ONE, a scientific journal, has reported about the discovery. Researchers had found the fossil in early 2016, according to the Hindu.
Here are some of the interesting facts about the recent discovery:-
1. The 5.5 metre-long skeleton is thought to belong to the Ophthalmosauridae family. It lasted from about 250 million to 200 million years ago, when the Kutch was a sea, the report said.
2. Other Ichthyosaur fossils that were found in India from the Crustacean period lasted 145 million to 66 million years ago. Those fossils were are usually found in the form of teeth or fragments of vertebrae.
3. A University of Delhi geologist, Guntupalli Prasad, earlier when fossil bone from the animal’s skeleton the Indo-German research team suspected that it was a dinosaur.
4. But later they found out that the bone was too long when the whole skeleton was unearthed, Prasad added.
5 . The Gujarat fossil is believed to be from the Jurassic period and it is the first Jurassic ichthyosaur found in India.