The discovery of the bones of a massive marine reptile that lived one hundred million years ago and was located in Australia has given researchers new optimism that they will find vital evidence of prehistoric life.
Amateur fossil hunters in Queensland discovered the skeletal remains of a baby long-necked pleiosaur on a cattle station in August of last year. This dinosaur is also known as an elamsaurus. It stood approximately 6 meters tall.
Elasmosaurs, which measured between 8 and 10 meters in length, were native to the Eromanga Sea, which existed approximately 150 million years ago and covered significant portions of the Australian interior with water that was at least 50 meters deep.
Espen Knutsen, senior curator of palaeontology at the Queensland Museum, compared the find to the Rosetta Stone since it assisted researchers in deciphering hieroglyphics.
He said, “We have never found a body and a head, and this may be the key to the future of research in the field,” adding that paleontologists may gain more substantial knowledge about the origin, evolution, and ecology of the Cretaceous period in the region if they find a body and a head. “We have never found a body and a head,” he said.
“Because the neck of pleiosaurs comprised 2/3 of them, the head often split from the body after they died. This made it incredibly rare to uncover a fossil that was still completely entire.”
Knutsen stated that when an elasmosaur passed away, the gases produced by the decomposition of its corpse caused it to float to the top of the water where it was visible to researchers. When the carcass was consumed by a predator, the head was frequently severed from the body.
The specimen that was discovered is, however, in good condition, and the researchers will conduct chemical tests on the teeth. These tests may provide information about the ecology of the environment that the animal lived in, whether it had migrated during its lifetime or whether it had lived permanently in one place, as well as for the animal’s diet.
Even though they existed at the same period of time as dinosaurs, ancient sea reptiles such as pleiosaurs and ichthyosaurs are not considered to be dinosaurs. Due to the fact that plesiosaurs were descended from land-dwelling creatures, they did not possess gills and were required to periodically surface for air. It is not known how much longer they could survive under water.
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