(NewsReady.com) – The discovery of new species is always a cool experience. In 2015, a fossil was found in North Dakota, and it dates back to the age of the dinosaurs.
According to reports, the creature, which was a type of mosasaur, lived in an ancient sea approximately 80 million years ago in North Dakota. Amelia Zietlow, a postdoctoral student who found the creature, released a statement saying it would have looked like a massive Komodo dragon that had flippers.
Zietlow and other researchers who work with her found several vertebrae, a skull that was almost complete, a cervical spine, and jaws in Walhalla, North Dakota. The creature would have been about 24 feet long. They published a paper in a journal about their findings.
The scientists found that the creature contained many of the same features as two other known mosasaurs. The new one lived during the Cretaceous period with the others and alongside dinosaurs. In addition to its flippers, it reportedly had a tail like a shark’s that helped it glide through the water. It also had a bony ridge on its head that made it look like it had angry eyebrows.
The researchers named the new species “Jormungandr,” after the sea serpent in Norse mythology.
Scientists aren’t sure whether mosasaurs are related to snakes or lizards. Zietlow explained that the animals were constantly undergoing changes and, in this case, evolved into the sea monsters they discovered. She said the discovery of the new species has allowed them to get closer to figuring out how the creatures were related to one another.
Clint Boyd, a co-author of the paper, said the fossil came from a period of time in the United States that scientists don’t know a lot about. They want to fill in the “geographic and temporal timeline” so they can gain more knowledge about what the continent was like during that time.
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