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Plesiosaurs a marine predator that lived million years ago, used to swam like penguins


The complete and intact skeleton of the extinct reptile plesiosaurs from dinosaur era was first discovered in 1824.Since then scientists have been working vigorously to unravel the long lost lifestyle. This extinct reptile lived in the era of dinosaur and used to navigate from the deep ocean and prey on other marine creatures for continuity. A recent study on this extinct species reveled that it had a stroke like today’s penguin .Smith from the study team said “Plesiosaur swimming has remained a mystery for almost 200 years, so it was exciting to see the plesiosaur come alive on the computer screen, Our results show that the front limbs provide the powerhouse for plesiosaur propulsion while the hind limbs are more passive.”

The recent study was published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology by Greg Turk of Georgia Institute of Technology and Adam Smith, a paleontologist from Nottingham Natural History Museum. He successfully amalgamated artificial stimulations and enabled the stroking style of plesiosaur while they swam in water.

It was hypothesized that Meyerasaurus was one of those plesiosaur, predatory reptiles that stalked the seas way back in the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Scientists were confused why these reptiles choose sea while their close cosigns dinosaur stayed on the land. Now the new study shows that Meyerasaurus could move its flippers as the same sea turtles and penguins can do today.

Co-author Greg Turk stated “Two paddles fast, four paddles faster’ — that was my naïve thinking, But it turns out that “it’s the front limbs that seem to do all the work,  at least for casual swimming.” Turk’s co-author Adam Smith, a paleontologist at Britain’s Nottingham Natural History Museum-Wollaton Hall stated “Maybe the rear flippers moved together with the front flippers occasionally to provide an unsustainable burst of thrust, to lunge at a prey, for example,”

Although the research is getting positive reviews, it is still an issue of debate within the scientist’s body around the globe. Paleontologist Kenneth Carpenter, was not a part of the research team but he completely agreed with the research, said he is assured that plesiosaurs were probably underwater fliers. But researcher like Carpenter, form Utah State University Eastern, is doubtful about the idea that the back limbs steered the animal. The plesiosaur “was around 135 million years, so it’s well adapted to its environment,” Turk said. “Those large front and back flippers, had to serve a purpose.”  They were a part of the evolution and lived from about 200 million years ago to 66 million years ago. They disappeared in the same disastrous mass extinction that extricated dinosaurs from the world.

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