Ichthyosaur: India's first Jurassic-era 'fish lizard' fossil discovered in Kutch district of Gujarat
Kutch : A group of researchers from KSKV Kutch University have discovered a nearly complete skeleton fossil of Jurassic-era ichthyosaur.
Ichthyosaur is a type of marine reptile which is also called as 'fish lizard' in Greek. The skeleton fossil that hints towards specie of hybrid breed of dolphin and reptiles is believed to be living alongside dinosaurs.
"The present ichthyosaur find represents the first nearly complete articulated skeleton of an ichthyosaur from India and the first record from the Jurassic of India. It further expands our knowledge on morphological diversity and geographic distribution of Late Jurassic ophthalmosaurids, their dietary habits and palaeobiogeography," the study stated.
"The presence of ophthalmosauridae ichthyosaurs in the Upper Jurassic of India, Madagascar and South America implies that a marine seaway possibly connected the western Tethys with South America via the Indian Ocean in the Late Jurassic facilitating faunal exchanges between Europe and Gondwanan continents," the study added further.
The 5.5-meter-long fossil was first spotted in the year 2016 and after a series of experiments and tests it has been learned that it belongs to Ophthalmosauridae family which lived between 165 million years and 90 million years ago.
The findings were published in the October 25 edition of PLOS ONE journal.
Such fossils have been earlier found in countries like America, Australia and Europe; but this is the first time something like this has been discovered in India.