The fossilized remains of an ancient sea creature were found on the coast of the English Channel. The scientists named it the sea dragon and admitted that the species had never been identified before. The Baylor University paleontologists believe that the unusual ancient reptile existed at least 150 million years ago. It could dive deeply, and a well-preserved specimen provides an opportunity to study her other characteristics and features.
That marine life has several differences that make it unique among the ichthyosaur species. By themselves, ichthyosaurs are considered the rarest finds, but it took more than a year to study the discovered remains to understand that this is a completely new and separate species.
Its length is about 180 centimeters. The specimen was discovered by fossil collector Steve Etches after a cliff collapsed along the coast. The fossilized remains were imprinted on a stone slab, which was buried in a layer of limestone bottom. The specimen was taken to the Jurassic Museum of Marine Life for study.
He was given the name Thalassodraco etchesi. That animal not only differed from ichthyosaurs in its physical characteristics, but also had a completely different ecological feature. It has characteristics similar to sperm whales, which are capable of diving very deeply.
This is evidenced by the extremely deep chest, which allowed the lungs to hold their breath for long periods. The marine reptile also has unusually large eyes, it confirms that it can see well even in the dimmest light.
Moreover, the animal has small flippers and it could move in the water in a way different from the method of movement of ichthyosaurs. Hundreds of small teeth prove that the diet consisted mainly of squid and small fish, the teeth themselves are smooth with small protruding ridges on them.
Almost nothing is known about the biology of these animals. Perhaps that species inhabited the seas of the late Jurassic period in Europe, Russia and the Arctic about 248 million years ago, and then became extinct.