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DD1991

Ichthyosaur Fossil Site In Iraq

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DD1991

The discovery of the Early Cretaceous ichthyosaur Malawania surprised me because fossil discoveries in Iraq have long been hampered by the legacy of Saddam Hussein's tyranny and bloodshed in Iraq that was perpetrated by Al-Qaeda against the Shiites after the 2003 US invasion. Why's it taken so long for the palaeontological community to find an Early Cretaceous marine reptile in the Middle East even though it's known that Iraq was submerged beneath the Tethys Ocean in the Mesozoic? Would it be cost-effective for the Iraqi oil industry to search for marine reptiles in the Cretaceous strata in Iraq?

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Uncle Siphuncle

being quite fond of my current arrangement of limbs, i don't think i'd feel too tempted to venture into iraq, flipping rocks...

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Auspex

I think the time will come, but for now, the fossils will have to wait a bit longer.

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kolleamm

No fossil ever gets left behind!

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Oxytropidoceras

The paper is:

Fischer, V., R. M. Appleby, D. Naish, J. Liston, J. B. Riding, S. Brindley,

and P. Godefroit, 2013, A basal thunnosaurian from Iraq reveals

disparate phylogenetic origins for Cretaceous ichthyosaurs. Biology

Letters. vol. 9, no. 4, article 20130021. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2013.0021

http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/9/4/20130021.short

The specimen was actually found back in during the 1950s by British

petroleum geologists. When they found this fossil, it was being used

as a stepping stone on a mule track. At that time, it was shipped back

to the United Kingdom to the Natural History Museum in London,

where it is curated and was eventually studied.

The details are discussed in "Malawania anachronus, an ichthyosaur

'out of time'," Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, at:

http://www.naturalsciences.be/active/sciencenews/malawania

Also, there is "How a new ichthyosaur from Iraq changes everything"

by Darren Naish, BBC News, at http://www.walkingwithdinosaurs.com/news/editorial/new-ichthyosaur-iraq-malawania-anachronous/1/

Yours,

Paul H.

Edited by Oxytropidoceras

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Nandomas

No fossil ever gets left behind!

:) :) :)

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