The fossil of an Early Cretaceous species, the first of its kind found in Peru, was discovered along the Pacific coastline of the Chorrillos district.
Peruvian paleontology has made yet another contribution to knowledge of past life on Earth. Fossil remains discovered along Peru’s coastline of the Pacific Ocean have been confirmed as belonging to the the plesiosaur, a large marine reptile belonging to the Early Cretaceous period.
Biologists Iván Meza Vélez, of the Department of Paleontology of Vertebrates of Lima’s Natural History Museum, and José O ́Gorman, of Argentina’s National University of La Plata, reported the discovery. According to the official press release, the findings consisted of a propodium (femur or humerus), three vertebrae and an ilium (pelvis bone). The remnants of the ancient plesiosaur were found in the district of Chorrillos along the oceanfront headlands, Morro Solar.
But isn’t the Morro Solar a desert?
An aquatic reptile, the plesiosaur lived during the Mesozoic era; a time period comprising of the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods. It is believed that during the Early Cretaceous period, some 135 million years ago, the now desert-like Morro Solar was a seabed. Using its wide fins as paddles, the long-necked species would have been able to maneuver by sea in this area. In addition to the plesiosaur, much marine life likely called this area home.
Though remains of this species have been found throughout the Americas, this is the first plesiosaur fossil found in Peru. Up to this point, it is only the “second Early Cretaceous record of plesiosaurians from the Pacific margin of South America” (ScienceDirect).
The fossil remains discovered in Chorrillos were donated to the Natural History Museum (Av. Arenales 1256, Jesus Maria).
Source: Agencia de Noticias Andina