New Sea Monster Found

Sea MonsterA new species of dinosaur-era sea reptile is rewriting the books on the evolution of so-called sea monsters, a new study claims.

The newfound—and potentially controversial—Malawania anachronus was a ten-foot (three-meter) long ichthyosaur, a group of dolphin-like creatures that could grow to 65 feet (20 meters) in length. These fast-swimming predators peaked in diversity during the Jurassic period. Oddly, though, new fossil analyses suggest that M. anachronus roamed the oceans of the early Cretaceous period—66 million years after its closely related cousins were thought to live.

That’s why Malawania anachronus—Kurdish and Greek for “out-of-time swimmer”—is “something that shouldn’t be there, but it is,” said study leader Valentin Fischer, a geologist and paleontologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.

“This ‘living fossil’ of its time demonstrates the existence of a lineage that we had never even imagined,” Fischer said in a statement.

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