What did a fossil of a pregnant dinosaur with a baby in its belly tell scientists

(ORDO NEWS) — The fossilized remains of a pregnant ichthyosaur, 4 meters long, have been discovered in Chile – the first time a complete skeleton of an ichthyosaur has been found in the country. Moreover, the individual was female and was pregnant at the time of death.

There are quite a lot of ichthyosaur fossils around the world, but Fiona is one – she is the first and only female dinosaur discovered who was pregnant at the time of death.

The remains of a creature named Fiona were discovered by researchers during the melting of a glacier in the depths of Patagonia. Fiona was pregnant at the time of her death 139 million years ago, with several embryos still in her belly.

First pregnant dinosaur

Ichthyosaurs were marine reptiles that lived during the age of dinosaurs and are now well known to many laymen due to the shape of their body, reminiscent of dolphins.

Fiona’s remains were discovered during an expedition to the Tyndall Glacier in March and April 2022. The glacier is a 10-hour hike or horseback ride, which makes collecting specimens particularly difficult. The expedition lasted 31 days and was described by the explorers as “an almost titanic challenge”.

An ichthyosaur is the only pregnant female between 129 and 139 million years old (Early Cretaceous) whose remains have been discovered and recovered.

In addition to Fiona, 23 new specimens were discovered during the expedition, making Tyndall Glacier the most numerous ichthyosaur graveyard in the world, according to scientists.

“We hope to obtain results on the diversity, differences and paleobiology of the Tyndall Glacier ichthyosaurs, to establish the degree of bone maturity and ecological niches in order to assess possible changes in the diet that have occurred during their evolution, which could help establish paleobiogeographic links with ichthyosaurs from the Tyndall Glacier region. other latitudes,” say the authors of the discovery.

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