Fossils of prehistoric era's top predator unveiled
Thalattoarchon saurophagis. Credit: John Weinstein, The Field Museum, Chicago
This newly discovered species was formally named Thalattoarchon saurophagis, or "lizard-eating ruler of the sea." Thalattoarchon was the greatest carnivore of its time with its 8.6 meters length, and was a member of marine reptiles that evolved from land reptiles.
Its survival story from a dying-off that hit 80-96 percent of all ocean species 8 million years ago may shed a light on the ecosystem recovery issue, which may explain more clearly the processes of evolution.
The discovery may also be helpful in explaining how the planet could fight against the ongoing mass extinction being caused by humans now, scientists told LiveScience.com.
The newly found fossils are now being kept at the Field Museum in Chicago.