Researchers found an Ichthyosaur fossil of 180 million years old. The remnants were so well-preserved that they were still presenting parts of the skin and insulating blubber of this ancient, Jurassic sea monster. According to the study’s report issued in the journal Nature, the scientists found out that this Ichthyosaur was a warm-blooded “fish-lizard” and was living like dolphins.
The fact that this Jurassic sea monster, known as Stenopterygius Ichthyosaur, is a warm-blooded sea creature was indicated by the presence of the blubber layer which is also present in modern-day sea creatures and keeps them warm. More interestingly, according to the researchers, this Ichthyosaur shows characteristics of both a sea mammal and a reptile.
“They [Ichthyosaurs] looked kind of similar to dolphins, but the tail fin, it was vertical rather than horizontal. They were reptiles, while “dolphins, they are mammals like you and me. But Ichthyosaurs, they were reptiles,” said Johan Lindgren from the Lund University in Sweden.
Ichthyosaur Fossil Of 180 Million Years Old Revealed This Jurassic Sea Monster Was Warm-Blooded And Similar To Dolphins
“In most aspects, I would say that they were living like dolphins. They were really dark, almost blackish. I would imagine kind of dorsal skin, and some forms were deep divers that could venture down to perhaps several hundred meters and then go up again,” Lindgren added.
The scientists revealed, thanks to the opportunity to study an Ichthyosaur fossil of 180 million years old, that this Jurassic sea monster was warm-blooded and very similar to dolphins as regarding behavior and looks, to some extents, but, in the end, it’s still a reptile. Besides, the scientists think that by studying ancient animals they can estimate how modern-day creatures can adapt to environmental changes.
“We cannot possibly predict the future of our planet without understanding the past. That is where all the data lie. Understanding how animals functioned in their past environments sheds light on how they might adapt to our own changing planet,” said Mary Schweitzer from the North Carolina State University.
With over seven years of experience in online journalism, Vadim is passionate about everything related to science and the environment. For us, he will thus cover climate, environment, and science news, among others.