Not a dinosaur? Peruvian paleontologists discover 36-million-year-old sea monster skull

Paleontologists are happy to say that ancient fossil skulls of sea monsters have been dug up in the rock formations of the Peruvian desert. This is a ferocious-looking sea monster, and it is likely to be a species that has not been found in the past.

Dig a sea monster
On March 17, Peruvian paleontologists announced that they had unearthed the fossilized skulls of ancient marine predators in the dry rock layers of the Ocucaje Desert.

Ancestors of whales and dolphins
Similar to the ancient sea monsters described by people, this large marine creature living in prehistoric times not only has a terrifying sharp tooth, but also has four feet about 1.2 meters long and a body length of 12 meters. The bus is big.

It lived in the ocean 36 million years ago, probably in the geological age of the Eocene epoch, and was the top and most ferocious predator at that time, as well as the ancient ancestor of modern whales and dolphins.

Destructive Creature
Rodolfo Salas-Gismondi, who studies paleo-spine zoology at the Museum of Natural History Lima, Peru, said: “This is a sea monster! When it goes out to feed , it must have done a lot of damage.”

One-of-a-kind discovery
Paleontologist Mario Urbina, who is also the discoverer of this skull fossil, said that the skull is in a very good state of preservation. The skull fossil was dug up at the end of 2021, and it is speculated that it is derived from tuna, sharks and adults. Group of sardines for food.

Urbina stressed: “This discovery is very important because no specimens of similar species have been seen before.”

Gismondi added: “It has a different body size and teeth from the ancient whale species, and from these clues, it is at the top of the food chain.”

Thinking about ancient Peru
“Thanks to these fossils, we know that the Peruvian ocean was warm at the time, and we can reconstruct what the historical Peruvian ocean looked like,” Gismondi said.

The Okucaye Desert in Peru is rich in fossil remains, where whale ancestors, dolphins, sharks and other ancient creatures have been unearthed.

Tentative name: Predator of Okukaye
Paleontologists call this prehistoric creature “Ocucaje Predator” for now, and first classify it as a species of Basilosaurus. In the future, the research team will publish a scientific report on this species. And after peer review, further official names will be given.

Ancient dragon king whale
The researchers said that the Peruvian desert is now a shallow sea in ancient times. About 41 million to 34 million years ago, the dragon king whale and its ferocious relatives were the top predators in that area, appearing like a giant snake in the ocean.

However, the dragon king whale does not look like a snake at all. The difference between it and the snake is that it has two huge webs near the head.

Snake whales are difficult to distinguish?
Researchers in the past have also made similar mistakes, mistaking it for a reptile because its skeleton is too similar to a sea snake. According to the Smithsonian (Smithsonian), the scientific name of the dragon king whale, Basilosaurus, actually means the king lizard, but fortunately, researchers later figured out its true identity and learned that it is a marine mammal: the aquatic cetacean family (aquatic cetacean family). cetacean family).

Millions of years of evolution
The most ancient mammalian ancestors of whales lived on land and evolved into a semi-aquatic state after millions of years of evolution. Ten million years after the mass extinction of the dinosaurs, these ancestors eventually evolved into fully aquatic marine life, and the first cetaceans were born, and gradually developed into the 90 species of whales and dolphins known today.