STATES CHRONICLE – In the 1990s, scientists discovered the fossils of an Ichthyosaur in Somerset, England. After sending it to the Bielefeld Natural History Museum in Germany, the fossils were further examined, and researchers discovered they enclosed an embryo, which was the only one ever known belonging to the species.
The Ichthyosaur was pregnant at the time of its death
After the Ichthyosaur fossils reached the museum, Dean Lomax, professor at the University of Manchester, continued their study. Together with a German scientist, Sven Sachs, they discovered some unusual traces in the remains of the sea monster. This was a tiny fin, a vertebrae string measuring seven centimeters, and several ribs.
These bones were not completely formed yet, and still had a cartilaginous aspect. This meant that the animal they belonged to was not fully developed at the moment of its death. Therefore, they realized the Ichthyosaur was pregnant. All the details on the discovery have been published in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.
Scientists identified the seventh specimen of the same genus
Only several months before this discovery, Lomax and his colleague Judy Massare identified the fossils measuring 3.5 meters as belonging to the Ichthyosaur species. Given the place where they found it, they called the creature Ichthyosaurus somersetensis.
This was the second creature of the same species they have discovered this year, and the seventh ever discovered. Also, the embryo was not the first one ever found. However, it was the first displaying clear characteristics of the species, and which could be declared to belong to an Ichthyosaur.
The fossil itself was found in the 1990s near Doniford Bay in England, an area with plenty of remains for fossil seekers. Only later did it end up in the German museum, where it was studied better. Apart from the embryo, researchers discovered the tail of the specimen didn’t actually belong to it. It actually came from a smaller specimen, and was added for a better appearance.
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