BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Scientists have recently unveiled a fossil of a marine animal along a South Texas riverbed. Some experts argue that this fossil might have been a dolphin-like reptile. It was presumed to have lived approximately ninety million years ago. Paleontologists were triggered by the discovery of this unknown ancient animal.
James Harcourt, a petroleum geologist, was the one who unveiled these fossils about two years ago. He works for the Texas Railroad Commission, regulating the gas and oil industry of the state. The remains of the marine animal were not revealed until recently when a picture of this discovery appeared on the cover of the annual report of the commission.
This is a unique discovery because it unveiled an almost complete fossil of what scientists called an ichthyosaur. This animal grew approximately six feet long having the appearance of a dolphin. The marine animal had jaws similar with a dinosaur when it comes to the number of teeth. The fossil was revealed on private land, near Del Rio town.
Harcourt and his colleagues were analyzing the Eagle Ford formation, known to be one of the most productive shale oil resources from the entire state. Harcourt saw some bones on a rock. After he had cleared away the dirt of the fossil, he realized that underneath the dirt were some ribs, a spine, and a skull.
Josh Lively, who is a doctoral candidate specializing in marine reptile fossils at the University of Texas, asserted that there are very few occasions when they manage to find complete fossils out of the Eagle Ford. This is categorized as one of the most significant findings. Ichthyosaurs had vanished from the seas when the formation of Eagle Ford started, approximately 88 million to 96 million years back.
Lively has also stated that this species might be a plesiosaur, having all the characteristics. A plesiosaur was a massive underwater reptile. Until the fossils are exhumed, researchers cannot establish for sure to what species did this animal pertained to. The exhumation process can start only with the permission of the land’s owner.
Matt Brown, the director of vertebrate paleontology collections at UT Austin, stated that fossils cannot be examined unless they are unearthed to be tested in a laboratory.
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