[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]
New ichthyosaur found in Arctic
From: Ben Creisler email@example.com
Reuters news item:
New Fossil of Fish-Like Reptile Found in Arctic
Thu 2 September, 2004 13:32
By Alister Doyle
OSLO (Reuters) - Scientists have found a 16-foot fossil of
a new species of fish-like lizard that swam the seas 160
million years ago when dinosaurs ruled on land.
The ichthyosaur -- a giant reptile with fins and big
teeth -- was found with another 10 or so skeletons of
creatures in a Jurassic graveyard on a Norwegian Arctic
island about 1,000 miles from the North Pole.
"We believe it's a new species of ichthyosaur," Joern
Hurum, assistant professor at Oslo's Geological Museum,
told Reuters on Thursday. The creature looked a bit like a
cross between a crocodile and a dolphin.
"Only a few species of ichthyosaur are known and none of
this age from this region," he said of the site on
Svalbard. Other ichthyosaurs from the Jurassic period have
been found in Germany and Britain.
The Norwegian scientists found the fossils almost by
chance after they were sent to dig up a smaller fossil
plesiosaur -- a type of long-necked aquatic reptile with
four big flippers -- found by students two years ago.
"We found about 10 skeletons in the same place," Hurum
said, including a far bigger plesiosaur about 10 meters
long. The 3-foot-long head of the ichthyosaur had been
taken to Oslo for further study.
Scientists had covered over the Arctic site because frosts
had returned after the brief summer. "It's really hard to
dig in the region with permafrost," Hurum said. "There's
probably only about a month a year when the site is
Ichthyosaurs fed on squid and other marine organisms in
warm seas. In the Jurassic period, the site of the Arctic
fossil bed would have been far further south, around what
is now Germany.