Intact fossil of pregnant dino found in glacier in Patagonia; Look

Paleontologists have discovered one of the most complete ichthyosaur fossils ever seen, inside the Tyndall Glacier in Chile’s Patagonia region. One of the factors that surprised the researchers is that the dinosaur fossil had intact embryos. The animal is one of the largest that has ever passed the planet, with sizes that could surpass those of blue whales.

It is estimated that ichthyosaurs roamed the seas between 90 and 250 million years ago. For Judith Pardo, a scientist at the University of Magallanes, in Punta Arenas, the novelty represents a great achievement, as it is the only “pregnant” ichthyosaur found on the planet. The fossil must have lived between 129 and 139 million years ago.

“This will help scientists study embryonic development in ichthyosaurs, and therefore it is incredibly important,” Judith said in an interview with Reuters news agency.

The researchers dubbed the 4-meter-long ancient marine reptile Fiona. For them, the discovery of the dinosaur and, especially, its reproductive condition may bring many clues regarding the way ichthyosaur embryos developed.

Ichthyosaur Fiona, 4 meters long and found in the Tyndall Glacier in Chile.  - GAIA Research Center at the University of Magallanes/Reuters - GAIA Research Center at the University of Magallanes/Reuters

Ichthyosaur Fiona, 4 meters long and found in the Tyndall Glacier in Chile.

Image: GAIA Research Center at the University of Magallanes/Reuters

The bodies of ichthyosaurs were dolphin-like and had an elongated snout, two front fins, two rear fins, a dorsal fin, which helped them swim on the seafloor, and a tail fin, which they used to propel themselves over water. .

In Fiona’s case, her fossil was identified in Chilean territory more than ten years ago. According to Judith Pardo, paleontologists took 31 days, between March and April, to overcome the complex logistical challenge and successfully complete the extraction of five 200 kg blocks to keep the bones intact. The removal of the traces also had the support of a helicopter, due to the isolated location and the rough terrain.

ichthyosaur - Nobumichi Tamura/Handout - Nobumichi Tamura/Handout

Ichthyosaurs are among the largest creatures to have passed through the seas

Image: Nobumichi Tamura/Handout

Judith also stressed that the discovery marks Chile’s relevance in the field of paleontology. During the campaign, scientists also discovered 23 specimens of ichthyosaurs, bringing the total to approximately 100 detected in Tyndall Glacier, considered one of the most abundant and well-preserved ichthyosaur sites on the planet.

All specimens recovered from the site, especially the fossil Fiona, will be displayed at the Rio Seco Natural History Museum.

About Abhishek Pratap

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