Several in deep studies regarding how marine critters evolved, revealed some stupendous facts about the plesiosaurus. According to the results, it would seem that Nessie’s ancestors swam like penguins, gliding back and forth in the water, in a fly-like motion.
The scientific literature on the matter states that the plesiosaurus was a large marine predator, which belong to the sauropterygian reptile family. According to certain estimates, it would seem that king-like predator ravaged the seas during the early part of the Jurassic period.
The lizard has first aroused the public’s attention in 1824 when several fossils belonging to large marine creature were discovered on the shores of Great Britain. Over the years, scientists were able to decipher many aspects regarding the life of this large water predator.
According to measurements performed on a reconstructed skeleton, it would seem that the large lizard was small in comparison to other marine predators. An adult plesiosaur would reach a total length of 3.5 meters.
And, as a little history lessons, the first complete plesiosaurus skeleton was discovered and assembled by Mary Anning, a renowned paleontologist and something of a fossil bounty hunter, in 1823.
As stated, although we have uncovered a lot of information regarding the dinosaur’s interaction with the outside world, one more mystery persisted over time. Since the early reconstruction of the skeleton, many paleontologists have tried to explain how the great beast would move underwater. And a mystery it remained for many years, until recently when the bygone dino hunter has again sparked the attention of the scientific community.
A team of marine biologists, with the aid of sophisticated computer program, was actually capable of digitally reconstructing the giant sea lizard in all aspects, including swim methods. Based on their observation and the information fed to the program, it would seem that Nessie’s ancestors swam like penguins.
By analyzing its body structure, the team has determined that the lizard was actually capable of flying underwater, using its powerful front flippers in order to dash through the waves. Also, the team was capable of delivering additional data regarding the functionality of the plesiosaurus’s dorsal flippers. If the lizard used the frontal flippers in order to gain speed, then he would have used the back flippers for steering and stability.
The team reached this conclusion after taking a closer look at the lizard’s anatomy, which determined that the back flipper was rather too passive in order to help the creature gain additional speed.
Here is the video of the plesiosaurus moving through the waves, with the courtesy of the research team.