Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Newfound Ancient 'Sea Monster' Is Largest Yet from Antarctica

By Laura Geggel, Senior Writer | November 9, 2016 12:29pm ET

About 66 million years ago, an ancient sea monster the height of a five-story office building once gnashed its sharp teeth as it swam around the dark waters of Antarctica, a new study finds.

The newfound beast, known as a mosasaur — a Cretaceous-age aquatic reptile that sped through the ancient seas using its paddle-like limbs and long tail — is only the second fossilized mosasaur skull ever found in Antarctica.

The mosasaur specimen is different enough from other known species that it qualifies for its own genus and species. Researchers named it Kaikaifilu hervei after "Kai-Kai filú," an almighty giant reptile that owns the sea in legends from the Mapuche culture from southern Chile and Argentina. The species name honors Francisco Hervé, a world-renowned Chilean geologist and Antarctic explorer, the researchers said.


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