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Jurassic era fossil in Gujarat, an intriguing creature

The fossil remains of a strange creature were discovered in Kutch, Gujarat. An almost fully preserved fossil of Jurassic age sea-dwelling reptile Ichthyosaur has been found in a village in Gujarat’s Kutch district.

Ichthyosaurs (fish-lizards in Greek), were large reptiles that lived around the same time as dinosaurs. While many ichthyosaur fossils have been found in the Notheren America and Europe, the fossil record in the Southern Hemisphere has mostly been limited to South America and Australia.

Guntupalli Prasad, a Delhi University geologist said it was the first Jurassic ichthyosaur found in India. Previously an Indo-German research team had discovered the fossil bone of the animal, they assumed it to be that of a dinosaur.

The 5.5 meter-long skeleton is thought to belong to the Ophthalmosauride family, which likely lived between 165 and 90 million years ago, when the now arid Kutch was a sea.

The remains were found among the fossils of ammonites and squid-like belemnites, and the way the creature’s teeth were worn out suggested it ate animals with thick, bony coverings reported a team of scientists.

The discovery of the fossil throws a light on the evolution and diversity of the ichthyosaurs of the former Gondwanaland and India’s biological connectivity with other continents of the Jurassic.

It’s the second significant fossil discovery in India this year. Earlier, scientists had announced the discovery of the oldest plant fossil in India, ared algae from the Chitrakoot region in Madhya Pradesh, believed to be 1.6 billion years old.


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