Ichthyosaur fossil discovered in Chilean Patagonia – 05/13/2022 – Science

Ichthyosaur fossil discovered in Chilean Patagonia - 05/13/2022 - Science

Chilean scientists succeeded in recovering a fossil ichthyosaur The most complete in the world, with healthy embryos, on the Tyndale Glacier, in the Chilean Patagonia.

The ancient marine reptiles She was preserved and pregnant, nicknamed “Fiona” by scholars. The 4-meter-long fossil will help the team study the embryonic development of Ichthyosaurs that roamed the seas Between 250 and 90 million years ago.

According to Judith Bardot, the scientist who made the discovery, the fossil “is the only pregnant ichthyosaur It was found on planet Earth between 139 million and 129 million years old. So it’s very important,” he said.

Pardo, a paleontologist at the University of Magallanes’s Gaia Antarctic Research Center, discovered the fossil more than a decade ago, but the site’s harsh weather, rugged terrain and distance made extraction a complex logistical challenge.

Scientists spent 31 days extracting the fossil, which had to be flown by helicopter off the site. Because the fossil was so complete, the paleontologists said they had to extract five blocks weighing 200 kilograms to keep the bones intact.

The fossil is being prepared for display at the Rio Seco Museum of Natural History in southern Chile.

Scientists also discovered 23 specimens of ichthyosaurs during the expedition, Pardo said, bringing the total to nearly 100 specimens found in the Tyndale Glacier and making the area one of the hottest sites in the world. ichthyosaurs The most abundant and best preserved on the planet.

Translated by Luis Roberto M. Gonsalves

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