Our world was once conquered by water, a study estimated that about 1.5 billion years ago our planet was simply put “a ball of water”, with not an inch of dry land in sight. This is the reason why the evolutionary theory mentions we have evolved from sea creatures, as the water subdued and land raised. This sort of evolution took millions, if not billions of years.
We know this through the discovery of different fossils at the top of mountains. You may think that it is strange to find such fossils at the top of a mountain, but it all makes sense as the top of mountains were once below water, and the first points to raise above for reptiles to evolve on land. The same goes for this recent fossil of an ichthyosaur, which is considered to be the biggest sea creature known to mankind.
The 205 million-year-old ichthyosaur was discovered in the Swiss Alps by a team from the University of Zurich. According to a new study published on April 28 in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, the ichthyosaurs that were founded is believed to have been around 65 foot long and weighed around 80 tonnes.
The eco-system during the Late Triassic period (about 200 million years ago) was pretty much made up of mainly sea creatures. This period is famously known for being populated by some of the largest ichthyosaurs known to date. These were named as the king of the seas during that period of time, as no sea creature or creatures were strong enough to take this monster down.
P. Martin Sander is the leader of the research team for this discovery and he mentions that these creatures are quite rare and mysterious at the same time, not only because of their giant size but also because not much is known about them. Only a handful of fossils of ichthyosaur had been discovered thus far.
The most significant piece of this discovery has been a huge tooth which is the largest that has ever been found, with the root of the tooth being 60 millimeters in diameter, 40 millimeters larger than previous specimens discovered.
“It is hard to say if the tooth is from a large ichthyosaur with giant teeth or from a giant ichthyosaur with average-sized teeth,” (Quote by P. Martin Sander)
The largest sea creature that is still around is the sperm whale, the largest ever recorded weighing around 40 tonnes and 45 feet in length. Team member Dr. Heinz Furrer, a retired curator at the University of Zurich’s Palaeontological Institute and Museum, said he was thrilled by the discovery, as it could be the biggest animal to have lived on Earth.
“These late Triassic giant ichthyosaurs are clearly one of the largest animals ever made on our planet,” (Quote by Dr. Heinz Furrer)
The fossils were discovered in the Kössen Formation in the Swiss Alps, a rock formation at 9,200 feet (2,800 m) on the Triassic seafloor. Researchers believe that more fossils may be hiding behind the glacier of the rocky formation, based on the age of the discovered fossils. Those fossils that are still waiting to be discovered could be even older and presumably even bigger.