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Oldest sea reptile remains from 2 million years ago found on Arctic island

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SPITSBERGEN, Norway - The remains of the earliest known ‘fish-lizard’ from the Age of Dinosaurs have been found on a remote Arctic island.Swedish and Norwegian paleontologists found fossils of the earliest known ichthyosaur on Spitsbergen after nearly 190 years of searching.'I COULDN’T BELIEVE WHAT I WAS LOOKING AT': RECORD-BREAKING DINOSAUR FOOTPRINT UNEARTHED IN ENGLANDReconstruction of the earliest ichthyosaur and the 250-million-year-old ecosystem found on Spitsbergen. (Esther van Hulsen) Research conducted with The Museum of Evolution at Uppsala University helped identify the bony fish and ‘crocodile-like’ amphibian bones, together with its 11 articulated tail vertebrae.According to the university, ichthyosaurs were an extinct group of marine reptiles whose fossils have been recovered worldwide.

They were among the first land-living animals to adapt to life in the open sea about 250 million years ago. They later evolved their body shape similar to modern whales.The remains were found in limestone boulders during a 2014 expedition to Flower’s valley along the southern shore of Ice Fjord in western Spitsbergen.

They were later shipped back to the Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo for future study. DISCOVERY OF 256 FOSSILIZED TITANOSAUR EGGS SHEDS NEW LIGHT ON DINOSAUR SPECIESFossil-bearing rocks on Spitsbergen that produce the earliest ichthyosaur remains.(Benjamin Kear) "Unexpectedly, these vertebrae occurred within rocks that were supposedly too old for ichthyosaurs," the university said in a news release this week. "Also, rather than representing the textbook example of an amphibious ichthyosaur ancestor, the vertebrae are identical to those of geologically much younger larger-bodied ichthyosaurs,.

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