General, Research, Technology

Ichthyosaurus crushed mollusk shells with round teeth

Someone dreams of cosmic distances and discusses the future, while the past haunts someone. By researching fossils of the early ichthyosaurus, or smartly Cartorhynchus lenticarpusscientists from the Chicago Field Museum found inRaptor jaw round teeth. Their strength allowed the ichthyosaur to crumble the shells of snails and bivalves. The group posted its research in the journal Scientific Reports. Ichthyosaurs are interesting to science in that their origin is still covered in fog, so a new discovery will shed light on many secrets and bring us closer to their origin.

Ancient cuteness

Ichthyosaurs (lat. Ichthyosauria, from Greek ἰχθύς - fish and σαῦρος - lizard, literally: fish hunters) - a detachment of extinct large marine reptiles that had a shape similar to fish and dolphins. The name was given to him because of the strong resemblance to fish. The first complete skeleton was discovered in Britain at the beginning of the 19th century. Mary Anning

Ichthyosaurs They are interesting because, contrary to the widespread evolutionary transition from water to land, they did the opposite: the distant ancestors of ichthyosaurs switched to an aquatic lifestyle at the beginning triassic.

Triassic (Triassic) - the first geological period of the Mesozoic era. It follows the Permian period and precedes the Jurassic. Lasted about 51 million years

In fact, the events and dinosaurs described in the ParkJurassic period ”is already talking about the next generation of dinosaurs. Ichthyosaurs appeared much earlier, therefore, the search for their remains, in contrast to individuals of the Jurassic period, is especially difficult to find. The main reason why the origin of ichthyosaurs remains a mystery probably lies in the place of their descent to the sea: since the ancestors of ichthyosaurs descended along the channel of the prehistoric river, their remains have not reached our times. It turned out that most of the old remains irretrievably disappeared, and all the currently known species of ichthyosaurs are marine inhabitants with characteristically modified limbs. But normal heroes always go around, so the scientists began the search.

Have you heard the theory that dinosaurs may not have become extinct, but turned into birds?

A vague origin makes it difficult to accuratelyclassification of fish farmers. On the one hand, they are reptiles, but on the other, they are very similar to archosaurs, that is, to the ancestors of crocodiles. But this statement cannot be called accurate. According to one of the paleontologists Olivier Rippel:

We do not know exactly about the origin of ichthyosaurs. They are reptiles and probably archosaurs, that is, they are more closely associated with crocodiles, dinosaurs and birds than with lizards and snakes. But even this is not 100%.

Big brother is watching you

It turns out that the unknown ancestor of the ichthyosaur,may have been a new unique look. In the hope of finding a new species, the scientists decided to study Cartorhynchus lenticarpus. Unlike his large brothers, reaching 2-4 meters, he was slightly less than 30 cm.

And the storehouse of knowledge of our Yandex.Zen channel is comparable to the size of Megalodon

So what do the round teeth in the jaw givesmall dinosaur? At the very beginning, scientists believed that such a small individual had no teeth as such, and it simply absorbed food. But after computed tomography, it turned out that the teeth were not missing, but simply deeply hidden, like human molars.

Molars - these are the sixth, seventh and eighth teeth of a constant row or the fourth and fifth teeth of the milk row on the left and right side of the jaw. They are behind the premolars.

Ichthyosaurus tomogram and human teeth

The teeth had a round pebble-like shape thatallowed individuals to crush the hard shells of small invertebrates. The samples were substantially worn, so it can be said with accuracy that the fossilized skeleton belonged to an adult.

Comparing the new information received with early research, it became clear that the rounded teeth of Cartorhynchus lenticarpus are not an isolated phenomenon - several other species had exactly the same “molars”.

Dinosaurs, of course, are interesting, but what can you learn by examining a person’s teeth?

It turns out that rounded teeth are not common to allichthyosaurs, but only talk about the adaptation of several species to a changing habitat. A common alternative found in early ichthyosaurs was cone-shaped teeth. It is these differences, like strings, that unravel the origin of the "fish hunters," but so far they have not led to it.

Before the Triassic there were no marine reptiles, - says Rippel.

Changeable habitat makes these earlydinosaurs are so bewitching: their story will tell us about the restoration after a mass extinction, because they went to sea only after it. In addition, having found the ancestors of ichthyosaurs, it may be possible to identify or relate some species of dinosaurs to each other. This is very similar to assembling puzzles, where a bunch of small pieces are put together in one clear picture.

Let's arrange an investigation of the century and find the ancestor of the ichthyosaurus! Drop your wildest ideas in our telegram chat.