Scientists have unearthed an interesting fossil from Gujarat's Kutch district, India that dates back to over 90 million years. It is the first near-complete fossilised skeleton of an enormous 'fish lizard' which is referred to as Jurassic ichthyosaur in Greek.
Researchers from the University of Delhi and University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU) in Germany, who made the discovery, describes the Jurassic era animal as a mashup of a dolphin and lizard.
Fossil records of fish-lizards have been found in North America and Europe before. The fossils of these creatures unearthed in the Southern Hemisphere have been limited to South America and Australia.
The skeleton is 5.5 metre long and is speculated to belong to the Ophthalmosauridae family, which lived around 165 and 90 million years ago.
The discovery of the remains was made among fossils of squid-like belemnites and ammonites and its worn out teeth suggest that it fed on animals with thick bones and hard coverings.
"This is a remarkable discovery not only because it is the first Jurassic ichthyosaur record from India, but also it throws light on the evolution and diversity of ichthyosaurs in the Indo-Madagascan region of the former Gondwanaland and India's biological connectivity with other continents in the Jurassic," said Guntupalli Prasad, from the Department of Geology in University of Delhi.
Scientists are yet to spot the exact ichthyosaur's species, as per the study published by PLOS ONE journal. According to researchers, the only way to detect the exact species is possible by analysing the dispersion of ophthalmosaurid between India and South America, reported NDTV.
According to scientists, more can be revealed about the evolution of marine reptiles by discovering more Jurassic vertebrates in this region.
Remains of ichthyosaurs, which existed in prehistoric India, were found in 2016. Teeth and parts of the vertebra were a part of the finding which took place in Ariyalur, Tamil Nadu. In the latest finding which took place in Kutch unveiled parts of vertebral column, ribs, neural spines and part of the snout, The Hindu revealed.