Researchers have discovered a new prehistoric marine creature, nicknamed “Sea Dragon” and officially named Thalassodraco etchesi. This small marine reptile lived in the late Jurassic period 150 million years ago, and seems to have evolved to extreme depths. This fossil creature was found in late Jurassic deep-sea sediments on the coastline of the English Channel in Dorset, England.
The creature belongs to the ichthyosaur. That group of creatures are streamlined marine predators. The recently discovered samples have several differences that make them unique enough to be their genus and species. This particular specimen was discovered in 2009 and is believed to be about six feet long.
After the cliff collapsed, Steve Etches found it along the coastline. Scientists say it appears to be similar to a sperm well with extremely deep rib cages, which may allow for larger lungs and more internal organ space. The larger internal organ space prevents them from being crushed under the pressure of deep sea diving.
The creature’s eyes are also large and can be seen well in low light conditions. Its mouth is filled with hundreds of tiny teeth, indicating that it may have eaten squid and small fish. Its teeth are unique because they are completely smooth. The creature breathes air on the surface without scales.
These creatures are largely a mystery. In fact, little is known about animal biology. Scientists can only make assumptions based on the fossils discovered, because there is no similar life today. I hope that further studies in the future can provide more enlightenment for these ancient creatures.