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El Paisano

Prehistoric Sea Monster may be largest that ever lived

 The remains of a gigantic marine reptile have been found in the southwestern England. The reptile known as Shonisaurus, a  Ichthyosaur the animal who lived about 205 million years ago and was up to 85 feet long which is almost as big as a blue whale. Many biology textbooks have mentioned that the modern blue whale is the largest animal that ever lived.

Shonisaurus also known as a Ichthyosaur have contemporaries of the dinosaurs, with body shapes similar to dolphins. They reached their greatest diversity about 210 million years ago in the late Triassic. Ichthyosaur vanished from the fossil record about 25 million years before the mass extinction. Most Ichthyosaur were much smaller than the new creatures and the species have been found in the United Kingdom were 5 to 11 feet long. Paul De Salle who is a fossil hunter and study co author was combing the beach at Lilstock in May 2016 when he found a large and puzzling chunk of fossil bone. De Salle sent images to marine reptile experts Dean Lomax at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom and Judy Massare at SUNY Brockport in New York. Research shows that five fossil pieces that fitted together to form a 3.2 foot long bone, which scientists identifies as being from the lower jaw of an Ichthyosaur. Based on the size of the bone, scientists believe the reptile was bigger than any other discovered. Scientists travelled to Alberta, Canada, and  examined the much more complete fossil of Shonisaurus sikanniensis, a 69 foot long ichthyosaur found in 2004. Dean Lomax says the discovery had led them to reinterpret a whole chunk of isolated bones found near the village of Aust in Gloucestershire, England. Scientists realized the pieces also belonged to giant ichthyosaurs and possibly even bigger than the identified animal. Darren Naish, a paleontologist at the university of Southampton in the United Kingdom agrees that the sizes of all these bones are astounding. He examined the Aust bones and similarly concluded that they belonged to enormous ichthyosaurs.

The Ichthyosaurs bones were compared to the Aust bones and they were much larger than expected. Dean Lomax discovered fragments which appeared to be the limb or other bones of terrestrial dinosaurs which never made sense.

 

  

 

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Rio Hondo College Newspaper
Prehistoric Sea Monster may be largest that ever lived