A 244-million-year-old fossil, named Thalattoarchon saurophagis (lizard-eating sovereign of the sea) is an early representative of the ichthyosaurs, a group of marine reptiles that lived at the same time as dinosaurs and roamed the oceans for 160 million years. Art by Raul Martin © 2013 National Geographic Magazine Reproduced with permission
Updated: February 9, 2013 6:21AM
A pile of fossilized bones at the Field Museum represents a newfound type of marine reptile that swam the oceans looking for giant meals 244 million years ago.
Named Thalattoarchon saurophagis, the 28-foot creature was the first top predator in marine food chains that fed on prey similar to its own size, according to a group of scientists who just published their findings.
Recovered from the Nevada desert in 2010, most of the animal is preserved, and the fossil clearly shows its large teeth that were used to seize and slice.
The creature coexisted with dinosaurs and roamed oceans for 160 million years and is comparable to the modern orca whale.