Scientists have identified the 190 million-year-old giant sea monster named Arminisaurus schuberti. The new research will help to understand the evolution of super predators in the Early Jurassic period. The findings published in the journal Alcheringa.
In Germany 1980s, the fossilized bones of the long-necked marine reptile were unearthed.
"Plesiosaurs were amongst the most successful marine predators from the Age of Dinosaurs. Some, such as the famous Liopleurodon, were colossal predators up to 15 meters long," said Sven Sachs, a researcher at the Naturkunde-Museum Bielefeld in Germany.
"They were the equivalent of White sharks and Killer whales in the oceans today," Sachs added.
According to the researchers, Arminisaurus was only about 3-4 metres long and probably hunted fish, squid and other small prey in the ancient sea that covered during the Jurassic period.
With the help of mining machinery, the preserved bones of Arminisaurus were broken. And it was enough to classify the new species as an early relative of later Jurassic plesiosaur super predators known as pliosaurids.
Around 40 percent of the skeleton was recovered which includes parts of the skull, vertebrae and limb bones.
"Only two other plesiosaur fossils have ever been named from this mysterious interval in plesiosaurian evolution, making Arminisaurus a very important new addition to the global record of the group," Kear said.
"Arminisaurus is significant because it dates from a time frame early in the Jurassic, during which we have very few identifiable plesiosaur fossils," said Benjamin Kear, Curator at Uppsala University in Sweden.
The breakthrough research also revealed that Arminisaurus is identical with plesiosaurs that lived 50 million years later, during the Cretaceous period.
This information will help unravel the radiation of these bizarre marine reptiles and shed light on the early diversity of the gigantic pliosaurids.