Ichthyosaurus fossil found in Patagonia, Chile – May 13, 2022 – Science

Chilean scientists have successfully discovered one of the world’s most complete fossils of icthyosaurs with intact embryos in the Tyndall Glacier in Chile’s Patagonia region.

The preserved and pregnant ancient sailor was nicknamed “Fiona” by scientists. A 4-meter-long fossil will help the group study the evolution of the embryos of icthyosaurs that migrated in the seas 250 to 90 million years ago.

According to the scientist who made the discovery, Judith Pardon, the fossil “is the only pregnant icthyosaur found on the planet, between 139 and 129 million years old.” “That’s why it’s incredibly important,” he said.

Pardo, a paleontologist at the Gaia Antarctic Research Center at the University of Magallanes, discovered the fossil more than a decade ago, but the region’s extreme weather conditions, rugged terrain and distance made mining a complex logistical challenge.

The researchers spent 31 days mining the fossil, which had to be transported by helicopter away from the site. Because the fossil was so complete, paleontologists said they had to pick up five blocks weighing 200 pounds to keep the bones intact.

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

According to Pardo, the researchers also found 23 samples of icthyosaurus during the campaign, bringing the total found in the Tyndall Glacier to nearly 100 and making the area one of the richest and best-preserved icthyosaurus sites on the planet.

Translated by Luiz Roberto M. Gonçalves

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