August 1, 2022
Researchers at the University of Portsmouth in Hampshire, England, have discovered small plesiosaurus fossils in a fresh water in a river system in modern-day Morocco.
The plesiosaurus lived from during the Jurassic Period (201.3 million to 145 million years ago), breathed air, and was twice as long as a horse. But, until now, finding a plesiosaur in a river simply wasn’t plausible. This marine reptile, while similar to the descriptions given of Nessie, was thought to need a saltwater environment to survive—and the Loch Ness in Scotland is fresh water.
The researchers from the University of Portsmouth published a paper on the findings in the journal, Cretaceous Research. The paper suggests that plesiosaurs adapted to tolerate freshwater and possibly even spent their lives in it. This would make them similar to the river dolphins we know today.
The fossils they discovered include bones and teeth from three-meter-long (about ten-feet-long) adults. The bones hint at the plesiosaur living and feeding in freshwater routinely.
Because of this adaptation, the scientists say it’s possible the Loch Ness monster did exist. However, it still wouldn’t have been exactly what the myths have made it out to be.
Research contact: @BGR