Researchers found fossils of a 150-million-year-old huge sea reptile known as a plesiosaur in a paleontological site near the Argentine Marambio Base in Antarctica. It is considered the oldest creature ever found on Antarctica.
The discovered creature had a giant body with four long flippers powered by strong muscles that were attached to the wide bony plate. It also had a long neck and a short tail. It bears a resemblance to descriptions of the Loch Ness Monster reportedly seen in a lake in Scotland. It measured up to 12 meters in length. It is theorized that the sea reptile existed around 150 million years ago in the late Jurassic era, according to researchers.
Soledad Cavalli, a paleontologist at Argentina’s National Scientific and Technical Research Council, said that they did not expect to find an ancient plesiosaur. She further said that at the paleontological site, you could find numerous species of fish, bivalves, and ammonites, as noted by News24.
Cavalli described the find as extraordinary. This is because the rock types at the site were not favorable to the conservation of bones such as the discovered sea reptile.
Plesiosaurs were Mesozoic marine reptiles that belonged to the Sauropterygia, which were known as “lizard flippers” during the Mesozoic era. They were widely distributed in the oceans worldwide. They became extinct because of the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event at the later part of the Cretaceous Period about 66 million years ago.
The remains of the plesiosaurs were the first fossil reptiles to be discovered. The scientists described the swimming ability of plesiosaurs. They swam in the ocean just like penguins and sea turtles.
Meanwhile, they used their flippers to make a flying movement in the water. They were also warm-blooded animals as they breathed air and bore live young, according to Tech Times.
Likewise, the scientists discovered the fossil remains of the oldest known plesiosaur known as Rhaeticosaurus mertensi. They were unearthed in a clay pit in Germany in 2013 by a private collector. These species existed and survived the mass extinction prior to the beginning of the Jurassic period, yet completely died out with the dinosaurs around 66 million years ago. Meanwhile, the researchers will continue working on the new discovery in January 2018, according to Tech Times.