Luskhan itilensis: Dinosaur Times Bus-Sized Prehistoric Sea Creature Fossils Unearthed
Fossils of giant prehistoric sea creature that was believed to exist during the dinosaur times have been found. The creature was known as the Lukshan Itilensis, a reptile named the "Master Spirit from the Volga."
A previously unknown sea creature was unearthed by paleontologists in Russia. When the fossil was further studied, they discovered that the creature is a kind of aquatic reptile with merely a size of a bus, Independent reported. The sea creature is a pliosaur, a type of dinosaur with a head that is about 1.5 meters long, with a beak-like figure similar to a dolphin.
Because the fossil which was found exactly at the Volfa river in 2002 is an unnamed species, scientists named it as "Lukshan Itilensis" which means, "Master Spirit from the Volga." According to Sci-News, the sea creature was found in the Volga river, where its name was derived.
Pliosaurs or pliosaurids are the short-necked plesiosaurs, a kind of marine reptiles that are faster than the other long-necked type of sea monsters. They are distant cousins of modern turtles and not dinosaurs.
The Luskhan Itilensis are described on its main characteristics such as large heads, four large flippers, enormous teeth, hunted fish, extremely powerful jaws, and cephalopod mollusks. The scientists calculated that the fossil of sea creatures that was found have lived during 130 million years ago during the Hauterivian age of the Early Cretaceous.
While its kind has lived in the Triassic period between 220 million years ago and 70 million years ago at the Cretaceous period. Dr. Gleb Uspensky, a paleontologist from Ulyanovsk State University have found an almost whole skull 15 years ago.
Dr. Valentin Fischer, a researcher from the University of Liege in Belgium is the currently concerned researcher in the Luskhan Itilensis sea creature. He explained that "This is the most striking feature, as it suggests that pliosaurs had colonized a much wider range of ecological niches than what was previously assumed."