Giant fossil found in Nevada is the first of its kind
A report released by CBS News on December 23 noted that an 8-foot-long skull recently discovered in the Augusta Mountains of Nevada is the largest fossil ever found from its time.
The Augusta Mountains are located approximately 75 miles southeast of Winnemucca, Nevada, in Churchill, Lander, and Pershing counties.
The research team believe this remarkable discovery could provide insight into how modern whales developed and how to preserve their presence in the oceans.
The report said the scientists claimed, “The fossil – a recently discovered species of ichthyosaur, a type of large aquatic reptile – dates to around 246 million years ago. The new cymbospondylus youngorum is, according to the research team, the largest animal found around this time, both in the sea and on land. It currently holds the title of the first giant animal to ever live on Earth. “
CBS News said the well-preserved skull was excavated along with part of the creature’s spine, shoulder, and forefin. At over 55 feet long, the ichthyosaur was estimated to be the size of a large sperm whale, according to the study by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Los Angeles County Natural History Museums .
Scientists said the ichthyosaur had an elongated snout and tapered teeth, which led researchers to believe it ate squid and fish. He could also have hunted smaller marine reptiles and younger members of his species.
Dr Jorge Velez-Juarbe, associate curator of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, said cymbospondylus youngorum is “a testament to the resilience of ocean life after the worst mass extinction in Earth history. “, he added.
Lend Delsett and Nicholas Pyenson, who wrote the report for the Natural History Museum, said: “The history of ichthyosaurs tells us that ocean giants are not guaranteed features of marine ecosystems, which is a valuable lesson for all of us. Especially if we are to maintain the presence of the surviving ocean giants among us who contribute to our own well-being. “