Researchers have identified an extraordinary sample of fossilized blubber from a "fish hob" that lived 180 million years ago, according…
Researchers have identified an extraordinary sample of fossilized blubber from a “fish hob” that lived 180 million years ago, according to a new report in the journal Nature.
The blubber, a layer of fat under the skin of modern marine mammals that helps them maintain the heat, indicates that the old “ocean monster” was warm-blooded, an unusual quality in a reptile, according to the report’s author.
Jura’s marine life, called an ichthyosaur, appears to have shared properties in both mammals and reptiles, says Johan Lindgren, associate professor at Lund University in Sweden.
“They looked similar to dolphins, but the tan was vertical rather than horizontal,” Lindgren told ABC News. “They were reptiles,” he said while “dolphins, they are mammals like you and me.” But ichthyosaurs, they were reptiles. “
Ichthyosaurs not only resembled dolphins, “Lindgren explained.
“In most respects, I would say they lived as dolphins,” he said. “They were really dark … almost black.”
“I could imagine some dorsal skin, and some forms were deep divers who could venture down to maybe several hundred meters and then go up again.” Several hundred meters are over 1000 meters.
Lindgren said that so far researchers have not been able to identify their exact age or gender.
Lindgren said the researchers found pigment cells concentrated on the dorsal side of the body.
“So this animal was originally counteracted, which meant it had a dark upper surface and candy.”
Such natural “camouflage” is common to modern animal groups, both terrestrial and marine life.
“It’s a form of camouflage that you use when you need to hide in common sight,” Lindgren said.
Marine minerals seem to have helped to conserve and fossilize the creatures of the creatures.
“If you remove the minerals, the original soft tissues remain there,” Lindgren said. “They were very fast entombed in the minerals, so it must have happened, you know, during the fall of the animal. They were entombed in calcium phosphate and that manifestation apparently preserved the tissues.”
Fossil goes back to Jurassic, another co-author Mary Schweitzer, professor of life sciences at North Carolina State University said.
Schweitzer said studying this fossil can help explain “biodiversity” and “that make the flower flourishing.”
“We can not predict the prediction of our planet without understanding the past,” Schweitzer said. “That’s where all the information lies.”
“Understanding how animals worked in their past environments shines on how they can adapt to our own change plan.”