Palaeontology: Marine reptile found in Chile - Triops Galaxy

Palaeontology: Fossil of a marine reptile found in Chile

In the Chilean town of Algarrobo in the Valparaíso region, residents have discovered a fossil of Elasmosaurus, a marine reptile that existed more than 70 million years ago at a time when dinosaurs inhabited the area. Scientists from the Palaeontological Network of the University of Chile recovered the fossil of this reptile, which may have reached a length of up to seven metres. They reported that it belongs to the plesiosaur family, characterised by their elongated necks, hydrodynamic bodies and fins. It is not ruled out that it is a new species. Rodrigo Otero, the palaeontologist leading the excavations, described the find as promising, as it could offer insights into the evolution of living creatures more than 70 million years ago in Algarrobo during the Upper Cretaceous period.

Algarrobo, a coastal town in the Valparaíso region, not only attracts visitors as a popular summer destination, but also hides palaeontological treasures under its rocks that reveal the secrets of the time when dinosaurs populated the earth and reptiles roamed the oceans. Elasmosaurs, mosasaurs and other marine vertebrates such as turtles, a variety of sharks and bony fish from the late Cretaceous period have been discovered in this area.

The discovery of the new elasmosaur adds to the list of fossilised remains being studied by scientists at the University of Chile. This marine reptile is particularly remarkable due to its size, as it could reach a length of almost 14 metres and a weight of around two tonnes. The remains that the scientists are preparing for their investigations could be parts of the spine, waist and fins of the elasmosaur.

The Palaeontological Network of the University of Chile has been working in Algarrobo for over a decade, during which time it has uncovered numerous fossils from the Cretaceous period in the area. The recovery work began in May 2022 when Jana Toscheva, a local resident, came across a boulder that had already been separated from the surrounding layers by the tides and had well-preserved vertebrae.

“The distinctive features of the block led us to believe that it had only moved slightly away from its original layer,” explained Otero. Shortly after this initial discovery, Toscheva informed the scientific team that bones were protruding from the same rock a few metres further on. Otero and his team then applied for an excavation licence to recover the material and prepare it for further investigation. The discovery was remarkable, as almost complete skeletons of plesiosaurs are rare in Chile.

Sladjan Lazic

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Diese Website nutzt Cookies und Google Analytics. Wenn Sie die Website weiter nutzen, gehen wir von Ihrem Einverständnis aus. Klicken Sie hier für Opt-Out