A Recent study of the excavations in Germany in the early 1980s has led to the discovery of a 190 million-year-old species of a giant sea monster which is the key to the extensive study of the super-predators of the Jurassic period. This long-necked marine reptile has been named Arminisaurus schuberti.

According to Sven Sachs, a researcher at the Naturkunde-Museum Bielefeld in Germany, among the most successful marine predators from the age of dinosaurs was the Plesiosaurs. The famous Liopleurodons were colossal predators that ranged up to a height of 15 meters. They were the modern equivalent of White sharks and Killer whales in the oceans today.

Upon comparison, Arminisaurus was smaller than most of its siblings with a length of only 3-4 meters long and preyed upon fish, squid and other small sea animals in that era which covered Germany during the Jurassic period. Although the preserved bones of Arminisaurus were broken up due to mining machineries but enough was successfully recovered to classify the animal as the previous relative of later Jurassic plesiosaur super predators known as pliosaurids.

Including the skull, vertebrae and limb bones, around 40 percent of the skeleton was recovered which is more than enough to determine the species. The discovery of Arminisaurus holds a great significance as it existed in a time frame of early in the Jurassic to the point where only few identifiable fossils of plesiosaur have been found.

According to Benjamin Kear, Curator at Uppsala University in Sweden, only two other plesiosaur fossils have been discovered and named from this mysterious time interval which has been studied very scantily making Arminisaurus a very integral addition for the global record of the group.

The findings of this study have been published in the journal Alcheringa and shows that the Arminisaurus shared similar features with plesiosaurs that existed 50 million years after during the Cretaceous period. This new information shall help researchers unravel the radiation of these bizarre marine reptiles and shed some light on the early diversity of the gigantic pliosaurids.

 

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