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Researchers May Have Just Identified the Largest Ancient Marine Reptile
According to a new study published in the "Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology," the fossil remains recovered from the Swiss Alps — a possible vertebrae, rib fragments, and a piece of a very large tooth — suggest that the ichthyosaur may be the largest ancient marine reptile. Researchers estimate its length at 69 feet, surpassing the mosasaurus by more than 10 feet.
As is common with fossil records, the picture is incomplete. The details of how large giant ichthyosaurs can get, the areas of prehistoric Earth they used to inhabit, their behaviors, and so on are mostly inferred based on what's known (or at least broadly believed) of various time periods and environments.
However, what has been inferred from the evidence recovered from the Upper Triassic Kössen Formation of the Swiss Alps is that ichthyosaurs may have gotten smaller as time went on. The research also indicates that toothed and toothless species of ichthyosaur may have coexisted at the same time throughout the Late Triassic Period.