Plesiosaur: Fossil hunters in Australia have found a 100-million-year-old skeleton

Plesiosaur: Fossil hunters in Australia have found a 100-million-year-old skeleton


The invention of a large 100-million-year-old marine reptile skeleton in Australia has been hailed by researchers as a breakthrough that would present essential clues about prehistoric life.

The stays of a 6m (19ft) younger long-necked plesiosaur, also referred to as an elasmosaurus, have been discovered by a trio of hobbyist fossil hunters at a cattle station within the western Queensland outback in August.

Espen Knutsen, senior curator of paleontology on the Queensland Museum, in contrast the discover to the Rosetta Stone, an historical Egyptian granite block rediscovered in 1799 that helped consultants decipher the hieroglyphs.

“We now have by no means discovered a physique and a head collectively, and this may very well be the important thing to future analysis on this space,” Knutsen stated in an announcement Wednesday confirming the invention, including that it might give paleontologists higher perception into origins, evolution and ecology. of the Cretaceous interval within the area.

“As a result of these plesiosaurs consisted of two-thirds of the neck, the top usually separated from the physique after demise, making it very troublesome to search out fossils that protect the 2 collectively,” he stated.

The invention was made by newbie paleontologists often called the “Rock Chicks” – Cassandra Prince, her sister Cynthia, and fellow paleontologist Sally, who goes by identify solely.

A 100-million-year-old plesiosaur skull found in Queensland, Australia.

Elasmosaurs, which grew to 8-10 meters in size, lived within the Eramanga Sea, which coated a lot of inland Australia with waters 50 meters deep round 150 million years in the past.

Knutsen advised CNN that when Elasmosaurus died, its decomposing physique swelled with fuel that induced it to rise to the floor of the water, and the top usually broke off when predators scavenged the carcass, making discoveries of all the physique uncommon.

He added that as a result of the most recent discover was a younger specimen, it will make clear how the physique form of elasmosaurs modified from youth to maturity.

“We’ll have a look at the chemistry of its enamel, and that may inform us one thing about its ecology by way of its habitat, whether or not it migrated all through its life, whether or not it stayed in the identical surroundings, and in addition its food plan “, he stated.

Historic marine reptiles resembling plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs aren’t dinosaurs, though they lived across the identical time. Plesiosaurs descended from ancestors that lived on land and thus lacked gills and needed to sometimes floor for air. It’s not but recognized how lengthy they might have been beneath water.

Fossil hunter Cassandra Prince with Espen Knutsen from the Queensland Museum.

That is the most recent main discovery about prehistory to be made in Australia lately.

In June final yr, scientists have confirmed that the 2007 discovery of a fossilized skeleton in Queensland was the biggest dinosaur within the nation. The dinosaur, nicknamed “Cooper,” was about two tales tall and the size of a basketball courtroom.

Two months later, scientists found that the species as soon as existed flying dragon which soared over Australia 105 million years in the past. The pterosaur was described by researchers as a “horrible beast” that snacked on younger dinosaurs.

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