Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pristine reptile fossil holds new information about aquatic adaptations

Date:
November 17, 2011
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Extinct animals hide their secrets well, but an exceptionally well-preserved fossil of an aquatic reptile, with traces of soft tissue present, is providing scientists a new window into the behavior of these ancient swimmers.

Ectenosaurus clidastoides FHSM VP-401: (A) Skull, partial axial and appendicular skeleton, and calcified sternal cartilage in oblique ventro-lateral view. (B) Slab FHSM VP-401-05 showing phosphatized integumentary structures in medial view. Black and white arrow indicates anterior. Scale bars, (A) 10 cm and (B) 10 mm.
Credit: Johan Lindgren, Michael J. Everhart, Michael W. Caldwell. Three-Dimensionally Preserved Integument Reveals Hydrodynamic Adaptations in the Extinct Marine Lizard Ectenosaurus (Reptilia, Mosasauridae). PLoS ONE, 2011; 6 (11): e27343 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0027343

Extinct animals hide their secrets well, but an exceptionally well-preserved fossil of an aquatic reptile, with traces of soft tissue present, is providing scientists a new window into the behavior of these ancient swimmers.

Related Articles


According to the study published in PLoS ONE's Nov. 16 issue, the fossil, characterized by a team led by Johan Lindgren of Lund University in Sweden, is from the mosasaur family, a group of reptiles that lived between 65 and 98 million years ago.

The fossil was found in Western Kansas, and was submerged under a shallow sea at the time of the mosasaur's existence. Previous analysis of mosasaur locomotion had been limited by a lack of soft tissue fossils, which was crucial for the scientists to truly understand the degree of aquatic adaptation that the creature had achieved. The new findings, which include scales and skin impressions, suggest that the mosasaur was able to minimize its frictional drag in the water. Additional features suggest that it held the front of its body somewhat rigid during swimming, leading it to depend on the rear of its body and tail for propulsion.

According to Dr. Lindgren, this study provides "unique insights into the biology of an extinct group of marine lizards that became adapted to aquatic environments in a fashion similar to that of the preceding ichthyosaurs ('fish-lizards') and succeeding whales." Thus, these results may have implications for understanding how this group ultimately transformed from land-dwellers to pelagic cruisers in a relatively short period of geological time.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Johan Lindgren, Michael J. Everhart, Michael W. Caldwell. Three-Dimensionally Preserved Integument Reveals Hydrodynamic Adaptations in the Extinct Marine Lizard Ectenosaurus (Reptilia, Mosasauridae). PLoS ONE, 2011; 6 (11): e27343 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0027343

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Pristine reptile fossil holds new information about aquatic adaptations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111116174738.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2011, November 17). Pristine reptile fossil holds new information about aquatic adaptations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111116174738.htm
Public Library of Science. "Pristine reptile fossil holds new information about aquatic adaptations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111116174738.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fossil Treasures at Risk in Morocco Desert Town

Fossil Treasures at Risk in Morocco Desert Town

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) Hundreds of archeological jewels in and around the town of 30,000 people prompt geologists and archeologists to call the Erfoud area "the largest open air fossil museum in the world". Duration: 02:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Oldest Bone Ever Sequenced Shows Human/Neanderthal Mating

Oldest Bone Ever Sequenced Shows Human/Neanderthal Mating

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) A 45,000-year-old thighbone is showing when humans and neanderthals may have first interbred and revealing details about our origins. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) You've probably seen some weird-looking dinosaurs, but have you ever seen one this weird? It's worth a look. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins