A team of archaeologists has found the remains of a giant sea monster that lived 205 million years ago in the Swiss Alps, 9,000 feet above sea level :
The sea monster grew to a length of 65 feet and weighed 80 tons, and was identified from fossils representing three individuals – including teeth, ribs and vertebrae.
A 205-million-year-old ichthyosaur was discovered in the Swiss Alps by a team from the University of Zurich, who described the find as ‘exciting’.
They were carved out of rocks 9,000 feet above sea level in Switzerland, where tectonic plates collided to form Europe’s high peaks – pushing up the sea.
The giant reptiles patrolled Panthalassa, an ocean that surrounded the supercontinent Pangaea during the Late Triassic.
Artist’s impression of habitats and animals found with giant ichthyosaurs, about 205 million years ago
Team member Dr Heinz Fürr, a retired curator at the University of Zurich’s Palaeontological Institute and Museum, said he was thrilled by the discovery.(giant Sea Monster)
He said: ‘This is the longest ichthyosaur in the world; With the thickest teeth ever found and the largest trunk vertebrae in Europe.
The team discovered, these giant sea Monster creatures also entered the shallow sea of Tethys on the eastern side of Pangea.
Lead author Dr Martin Sandler from the University of Bonn said: ‘There may be more remains of giant sea Monster marine creatures hidden under the glaciers.’
They discovered teeth and vertebrae from a 65-foot-long, 80-ton ichthyosaur, and the root of the tooth was twice as wide as the previous record, which belonged to another ichthyosaur that was 50 feet from nose to tail.
Martin Sander and Michael Houtmann look at the discovery layers on the southern
Dr Sandler said: ‘Bigger is always better. There are specific selective advantages to larger body size.
‘There were only three animal groups whose mass exceeded 10-20 metric tons: the long-necked dinosaurs; whale; and the giant Sea Monster ichthyosaurs of the Triassic.
Ichthyosaurs was the first emerged after the Permian extinction about 250 million years ago, when they were about 95 % of marine species died out.(giant Sea Monster)
The group reached its greatest diversity in the middle Triassic – and some species persisted into the Cretaceous.
Roughly the size of contemporary whales, ichthyosaurs had elongated bodies and erect tail fins.
On the left is Martin Sander with a rib from the skeleton, and on the right is Heinz Fürer with a vertebra.
The mammoth species has been detected mostly in North America, with very few discoveries from the Himalayas and New Caledonia.(Gaint sea Monster)
The discovery of more behemoths in Switzerland represents an expansion of their known range.
Dr Sander said: ‘It amounts to a huge embarrassment to palaeontology that we know so little about these giant ichthyosaurs despite the extraordinary size of their fossils. We hope that we will face this challenge and soon we will find new and better fossils.
Specimens collected between 1976 and 1990 have been recently scanned, and probably represent the last of Leviathan.
Dr Sander said: ‘In Nevada, we see the beginning of the true giants and the end in the Alps. Only medium to large-sized forms such as the dolphin and the orca survived in the Jurassic.
This is only the second example of a giant ichthyosaur with teeth – the other being the 50-foot-long Himalayas urus.
They occupied similar ecological roles to modern sperm whales and killer whales, the team explained, adding that the teeth are curved inward like those of their mammalian successors.(gaint sea Monster)
This indicates a grasping manner of feeding adapted to the capture of prey such as giant squid.
The root of the tooth found has a diameter of 2.3 inches, making it the thickest ichthyosaur tooth ever found.
Dr Sander said: ‘It is difficult to say whether the teeth are from a large ichthyosaur with large teeth or from a giant ichthyosaur with average-sized teeth.
The tooth was broken on the crown. It could not be assigned confidentially to any particular taxon.
Nevertheless, a peculiarity of the dental anatomy allowed researchers to identify it as belonging to ichthyosaurs.
Dr Sander said: ‘Ichthyosaur teeth have a feature that is almost unique among reptiles: the penetration of dentin into the roots of their teeth. The only other group showing this is the monitor lizards.
They belong to the family Shastasaurus , which includes the giants Shastasaurus, Shonisaurus, and Himalayasaurus.
Known as the Kosen Formation, the rocks from which these fossils come were once at the bottom of a shallow coastal area – a very wide lagoon
What we know about ichthyosaurs – the marine predators that ruled the waters in the age of dinosaurs.
Ichthyosaurs were a highly successful group of ocean-going reptiles that became extinct about 90 million years ago:
Often misidentified as swimming dinosaurs, these reptiles appeared before the first dinosaurs emerged.
They evolved from an as-yet-unidentified land reptile that migrated back to water.
The giant animals that lived at the top of the food chain for millions of years evolved a streamlined, fish-like form built for speed.
Scientists calculate that one species had a top speed of 22 mph (36 kph).
The largest species of ichthyosaur are to have 20 (65 ft) in length.
At 11 feet (3.5 m), the largest complete ichthyologist fossil ever discovered was found to contain an embryo still in its womb.
Scientists said in August 2017 that the incomplete fetus was less than seven centimeters (2.7 in) long and included preserved vertebrae, a forelimb, ribs and some other bones.(Giant Sea Monster)
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