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Scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks have identified a new species of talatosaurus, a marine reptile that lived more than 200 million years ago.
The new species, Gunakadeit joseeae, is the most complete talatosaurus ever found in North America to date, in addition to having offered researchers new ideas about the family tree of the genus thalatosauria.
What were the talatosaurus?
Thalatosaurs they were marine reptiles who lived more than 200 million years ago, during the Triassic period mid to late, being distant relatives of the dinosaurs, who first began to appear at this time.
They came to grow to 3 or 4 meters in length, and lived in the equatorial oceans around the world until its extinction, at the end of the Triassic period.
Analysis of the fossil found
After analysis and research, the scientists, led by Patrick Druckenmiller, main author of the work published in Scientific Reports, managed to place it in the genealogical tree of the species.
“It was such a specialized and strange specimen that we believed it could be in the farthest branches of the tree of this species”, He explained.
He added that “instead, it is a relatively primitive species of talatosaurus that survived to a late stage in the group's existence.”.
“The talatosaurus were in the group of the first terrestrial reptiles that readapted to life in the ocean”Explained Neil Kelley, a fellow at Vanderbilt University.
Kelley added that “They thrived for tens of millions of years, but their fossils are relatively rare, so this new specimen helps us fill an important gap in the history of their evolution and eventual extinction”.