90 Million Year Old Dolphin-like Creature Found in Texas
Scientists have theorized that a fossil found two years ago in South Texas might belong to a dolphin-like creature called an ichthyosaurs, literally meaning “fish-lizard.” These underwater reptiles lived 88 – 96 million years ago and measured about 6 feet long.
ABC reports via The Houston Chronicle that geologist James Harcourt spotted the bones on private land near Del Rio. He was studying the Eagle Ford formation which is “one of the state’s most productive shale oil basins” when he saw an imprint of a skeleton on a rock. After brushing away some dirt, he and his colleagues found a skull, ribs, and spine.
Marine reptile specialist Josh Lively told the news, “Very rarely do we get really complete skeletons out of the Eagle Ford. Whenever you have an associated skeleton like this, when you have multiple parts of the animal, it’s a really an important find.”
There’s also a chance that the bones are part of a bigger creature known as a plesiosaur, but finding out will depend on how keen the land owner is to let scientists continue to dig to look for more skeletal remains. The BBC writes that ichthyosaurs were the kings of the underwater kingdom with their fast movements and rows of sharp teeth until the larger plesiosaurs came along.