In 1988 the geologist of the University of Chile, Patricio Sepúlveda, studied stony rocks south of the Mantos Blancos mine when identified fossil remains of a prehistoric animal. Later I send them to the wineries of the Natural History Museum in Santiago.
“When I started my career in the eighties, the topic of vertebrate paleontology was almost unknown in Chile. But I was lucky to work with an American geologist who came to the country, with whom I learned to recognize bones. As at that time , very few people knew about this I moved them to keep them in the museum, “the national researcher told El Mercurio de Antofagasta.
Nevertheless, It was not until 30 years later that it was possible to determine to which species these remains belong. Paleontologist Rodrigo Otero “rediscovered” the fossils and determined that It was the first Temnodontosaurus found in the southern hemisphere.
The research was recently published in the “Journal of South American Earth Sciences “, a specialized magazine.
# Extinction Memory 219. Temnodontosaurus platyodon. The first ichthyosaur discovered, found by the famous Mary Anning and her brother Joseph. He was one of the greatest known (9-12 meters), with the largest eyes of the animal kingdom (26.4 cm in diameter). (© John Sibbick) pic.twitter.com/N9Cu8LVlm8
– Empty set ?? (@The Empty Set) August 9, 2019
Otero explained that the Temnodontosaurus were marine macrodepredarores that inhabited the area approximately 200 million years ago and that to date there were only records of presence in Europe.
“The temnodontosaurus are a type of marine reptile fully adapted to aquatic life. It has quite similar modifications to those seen in dolphins. The limbs are modified as fins. And they also have a very similar dorsal fin. But you have to consider that dolphins appear 40 million years ago and these ‘bugs’ date back at least 160 million before, “he said.
The unpublished finding inspires a series of questions about how it was and what species may have inhabited the lower Jurassic in the Chilean territory.