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Discovery of fossils of unknown giant, prehistoric lizards i

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  • Discovery of fossils of unknown giant, prehistoric lizards i

    Discovery of fossils of unknown giant, prehistoric lizards in Arctic

    OSLO (AFP) - Norwegian scientists have discovered fossils in the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard of a hitherto unknown species of giant marine lizards who lived 160 million years ago, one of the scientists announced.

    "We have found the remains of at least ten skeletons spread across a surface equivalent to two football fields," Joern Hurum, a geology professor at the University of Oslo, told AFP.


    The fossils, which according to Hurum date from the Mesozoic Era (lasting from 230 million to 65 million years before our era), are of plesiosauruses, large marine reptiles with paddlelike limbs, and of an until now unknown ichthyosaurus species: large reptiles that resemble sharks.


    "These are colossal animals that measure between four and 10 meters (13 and 33 feet). Everything that increases our knowledge of these animals is exciting," Hurum said.


    "I am 99 percent sure that we're talking about a new species because the closest areas where other ichthyosauruses have been found are in Germany and in Britain," he added.


    At a latitude of 78 degrees north, the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard is separated from the North Pole by a mere 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).


    A few hundred ichthyosaurus species are already known. Living solely in water, these reptiles had short, biconcave vertebrae resembling those of fish, and could vary in length from ten to thirty feet. They fed on cephalopods (mollusks like octopus, and squid) and on fish.


    The pieces found have been well preserved but are quite fragmented, according to Hurum.


    "There are tons of small pieces which are smaller than the nail of a flea," he said.


    The permafrost in Svalbard makes it impossible for digs to take place for more than one month each year, so it should take scientists about three years to excavate all the pieces of the puzzle.
    \"No, I think Space is a dimension of Time. My theory is that Time is a field and that Space exists as an aspect of Time.\" Michael Moorcock

    \"All I know about anything is \"I wasn\'t. I am. I will not be.\" Michael Moorcock
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