Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have identified a previously unknown ancient ocean predator after analyzing a fossil that had spent over a century in the Hunterian Museum at the University of Glasgow. The Times reports
that the 165-million-year-old fossil was found in a clay pit near Peterborough in the early 1900s.
The 30-foot-long ancient predator has been named Tyrannoneustes lythrodectikos
, which means "blood-biting tyrant swimmer." The ancient creature is a distant relative of crocodiles. In the sketch, the creature appears to resemble a cross between a crocodile and a dolphin or shark. BBC News reports
that the creature's large graping jaw and serrated teeth would have enabled it to feed on larger prey.
Dr Mark Young, form the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences, said in a statement, "It is satisfying to be able to classify a specimen that has been unexamined for more than 100 years, and doubly so to find that this discovery improves our understanding of the evolution of marine reptiles."
The findings were published here
in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology
Image: Dmitry Bogdanov/Univerity of Edinburgh