New species of ichthyosaur fossil discovered

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have discovered a new species of ichthyosaur that lived in what is now China about 250 million years ago. The newspaper “Zhongguo zhibao” writes about it on Thursday.

A partially preserved fossilized skeleton of a marine reptile fossil was found in Baise, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China.

According to the place of discovery, the creature was named Baisesaurus robustus. According to scientists, it was the largest of the ichthyosaurs that lived in the early Triassic period between 251.9 and 247.2 million years ago.

The length of the found specimen exceeded 3 m. Judging by the bone remains, it knew how to swim well, surpassing in this the species of ichthyosaurs previously established in the territory of the PRC.

The discovery of Baisesaurus robustus expanded the habitat of these marine reptiles during the early Triassic period in China, said Han Fenglu, a specialist at the Wuhan University of Geosciences.

The bones were discovered by an international team of scientists in 2017. Then they were restored in the form of a skeleton. This work revealed features of Baisesaurus robustus that distinguish it from other known ichthyosaurs.

“Compared to other early ichthyosaur species, Baisesaurus robustus was a better swimmer, with longer and more powerful forelimb bones, it could cover considerable distances and migrate farther in the ancient Tethys Ocean,” said Han Fenglu.

It is believed that ichthyosaurs, which appeared on the planet during the early Triassic, disappeared about 90 million years ago. Perhaps their predecessors were some reptiles that lived on earth.

Early Triassic ichthyosaurs, which have so far been found in Japan, Canada, northern Europe, and the Chinese provinces of Hubei and Anhui, did not exceed 1.5 m in size.


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