Islamabad: Scientists have found 180-million-year-old blubber from a true sea monster, the ancient ichthyosaur, according to the BBC. The fossilized specimen is very well-preserved, and it’s already answering some questions about this Jurassic-era sea creature.
The discovery has led scientists to confirm that the ichthyosaur was warm-blooded, which is rare in reptiles. The ichthyosaur had skin somewhat like that of modern dolphins and whales and did not have scales. The skin recovered with the recent find still has some of the camouflage patterns these ancient creatures developed to swim stealthily through the water.
Ichthyosaurs share many traits with modern dolphins and share some characteristics with sea turtles. The specimen came from the Urweltmuseum Hauff in Germany. It was discovered in the Holzmaden quarry, where several other well-preserved Jurassic Period fossils have been found.
Remnants of internal organs and the body outline is clearly visible in the fossil, according to scientists.
Before the usual speculation begins, this is fossilized tissue, all original cells have been replaced by minerals. It’s stone. There is no soft tissues, no DNA, no blood, nothing to clone, and certainly nothing to support a young Earth hypothesis. Thank you for your attention.
The ancient reptiles looked a lot like dolphins, and may have been warm-blooded and insulated by blubber.
A sea beast from the age of the dinosaurs was actually warm blooded and had insulating blubber – and looked like a dolphin.
Molecular and mircrostructural analysis of a Stenopterygius ichthyosaur from the Jurassic, 180 million years ago, found that the creatures had skin similar to whales.
Like whales and dolphins, they were coloured dark on top and lighter on the bottom, to protect themselves from predators, say researchers from North Carolina State University.
Professor Mary Schweitzer said, ‘Ichthyosaurs are interesting because they have many traits in common with dolphins, but are not at all closely related to those sea-dwelling mammals.
‘We aren’t exactly sure of their biology either. They have many features in common with living marine reptiles like sea turtles, but we know from the fossil record that they gave live birth, which is associated with warm-bloodedness. This study reveals some of those biological mysteries.’
‘Remarkably, the fossil is so well-preserved that it is possible to observe individual cellular layers within its skin.’
Researchers identified cell-like microstructures that held pigment organelles within the fossil’s skin, as well as traces of an internal organ thought to be the liver.
They also observed material chemically consistent with vertebrate blubber, which is only found in animals capable of maintaining body temperatures independent of ambient conditions.