The evolution of ichthyosaurs was amazing, but unfortunately their extinction was also rapid due to the wave of extinction that the Earth witnessed in that period
Paleontologists were able to analyze the remains of the aquatic Ichthyosauria, which is considered one of the three largest creatures that lived on Earth, before it became extinct in the time of the dinosaurs.
According to a report by Eurek Alert, scientists believe that understanding how the rapid evolution of these organisms occurred will help them understand the evolution of large whales living today, such as the blue whale and dolphins.
The ichthyosaur is considered one of the largest aquatic creatures at all, as its skull can reach two meters in length, and it was in control of its watery surroundings, just as the dinosaurs in its surroundings controlled the land.
A descendant of a still unknown family
Scientists still do not know the origin of this strange creature, which was confirmed by Dr. Martin Sander of the University of Bonn, Germany and a research associate at the Dinosaur Institute of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, USA – in the press release issued on the museum’s website. – who said that ichthyosaurs descended from an unknown group of terrestrial reptiles.
The researcher added, “We still do not know the origin of these creatures, despite the fact that the first discovery of their remains was 250 years ago in southern Germany and England, that is, before the discovery of the remains of dinosaurs.”
The remains of ichthyosaurs – the subject of the study, which was published last December 24 in the journal Science – date back to about 247 million years, as they were found in the Augusta Mountains in Nevada, USA, and they are represented in a complete skull in addition to part of the Its backbone, scientists believe, is up to 17 meters long, which makes it the tallest aquatic creature ever.
The development astonished scientists
Researcher Lars Schmitz – from the Dinosaur Institute – said in a statement to Al Jazeera Net via e-mail that the importance of this study is that it will enable them to understand the evolution of large whales over time, such as dolphins and blue whales.
The spokesman added, “The study that we have completed is very important, because it will help us better understand how large whales evolved in our time. We currently know that the 3 largest vertebrates that our land has ever witnessed are dinosaurs, ichthyosaurs and large whales, and we believe that there is a relationship between them that will be explained in the future.”
He pointed out that this study revealed to them that ichthyosaurs evolved very quickly compared to the evolution of large whales at the present time. “The ichthyosaurs lived only about 3 million years, which is a very short period compared to the large whales that we know today, which took a lot of time to become these sizes.” Unlike ichthyosaurs, which evolved very quickly.”
He said, “Therefore, the evolution of ichthyosaurs was amazing, but unfortunately their extinction was also rapid due to the wave of extinction that the Earth witnessed in that period, which witnessed the extinction of about 80% of creatures, which will be the subject of our next research, there are many questions that still need to answers.
Source : The island + Websites + York Alert