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Fossil found in Chile: Fiona, the pregnant fish dinosaur


A paleontologist has discovered a special fossil in a glacier in Patagonia: a petrified ichthyosaur with embryos in its abdomen. The animal can now help to understand the development of the primeval giants.

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A particularly well-preserved pregnant ichthyosaur was discovered in Chile

Photo: GAIA Antarctic Research Center University / REUTERS

In Chile, scientists and paleontologists have presented a special fossil: an excellently preserved ichthyosaur - with intact embryos in the petrified abdomen.

The four meter long fossil comes from the Tyndall Glacier in the Chilean region of Patagonia.

And was christened "Fiona" by the researchers.

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Fiona is "the only pregnant ichthyosaur found on Earth from 129 to 139 million years ago," said scientist Judith Pardo of the Universidad de Magallanes in the southern Chilean city of Punta Arenas.

The fossil "is so incredibly important." Fiona should help to study and understand embryonic development in ichthyosaurs.

Ichthyosaurs — also known colloquially as fish dinosaurs — lived in the world's oceans between 90 and 250 million years ago.

Fiona was transported in five blocks of rock, each weighing 200 kilograms

Paleontologist Pardo discovered the fossil more than a decade ago.

But it was difficult to recover the petrified sea animal: because of the extreme climatic conditions in Patagonia, because of the impassable terrain and the remoteness of the place where it was found.

According to the scientists involved, it took a total of 31 days to rescue Fiona.

In order to leave all the bones intact, five blocks of rock, each weighing 200 kilograms, had to be removed.

These chunks were then transported away by helicopter.

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The university announced the find on Tuesday.

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

The region in which Fiona reappeared after many millions of years is one of the richest and best preserved sites for ichthyosaurs.

These marine reptiles lived in the Mesozoic, the Mesozoic Era.

They died out more than 90 million years ago - many million years before the dinosaurs.


Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2022-05-12

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