Paleontologists discover ichthyosaur fossils with intact embryos inside glacier in Chile

New Delhi, IndiaEdited By: Vyomica BerryUpdated: May 13, 2022, 02:01 PM IST
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In this picture, Chilean scientist Judith Pardo can be seen with a four-metre-long fossil of ichthyosaurs. (Image credit: Magallanes University's GAIA Antarctic Research Centre) Photograph:(Others)

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The ichthyosaur fossils, which roamed the seas between 90 and 250 million years ago, have been dubbed 'Fiona' by Chilean scientists

Paleontologists have discovered one of the most complete dinosaur fossils inside the Tyndall Glacier in Chile's Patagonia region. The ichthyosaur fossils, which roamed the seas between 90 and 250 million years ago, have been dubbed "Fiona" by Chilean scientists.

According to Judith Pardo, the scientist who discovered the fossil,  "it is the only pregnant ichthyosaur that's been found on the planet from the era between 129 and 139 million years ago." 

"It will help scientists study embryonic development in ichthyosaurs and is thus, incredibly important," added Pardo, who is a paleontologist at the Magallanes University's GAIA Antarctic Research Centre.

The bodies of ichthyosaurs were similar to a dolphin and they had an elongated snout, two front fins, two rear fins, a dorsal fin, which they all used to swim on the seabed, and a caudal fin, which they used to propel themselves in the water.

Although the fossils with intact embryos were discovered the fossil more than a decade ago but recovering them from the site was hampered by its harsh terrain and remoteness.

Pardo said that it took paleontologists 31 days to overcome the complex logistical challenge and successfully complete the extraction of five blocks weighing 200 kilograms to keep the bones intact.

The 23 ichthyosaur specimens recovered from the Tyndall Glacier will be exhibited in the Rio Seco Natural History Museum in southern Chile.

The fossils of the preserved and pregnant ancient marine reptile have made the Patagonia region one of the most abundant and well-preserved ichthyosaur sites on the planet. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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