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May 26, 2016 03:47 AM EDT

Newly Discovered Dinosaur Fossil Challenges Darwin's Theory of Evolution; Marine Reptiles Evolved More Quickly

Newly Discovered Dinosaur Fossil Challenges Darwin's Theory of Evolution; Marine Reptiles Evolved More Quickly
A fossil of a newly discovered dinosaur revealed that marine reptiles evolved more quickly after the mass extinction as it did not look like its ancient relatives.
(Photo : Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

A fossil discovered in China has challenged the previous belief that marine reptiles were unable to evolve quickly after the mass extinction of dinosaurs that happened 250 years ago.

The new species, Sclerocormus parviceps, is an ancient relative of the ichthyosaur, a marine reptile that lived in the same era as the earliest dinosaurs. However, scientists are dumbfounded as the newly discovered fossil lacked the defining dolphin-like features that scientists found in previous ichthyosaurs they studied before.

New Fossil is an Ancient Relative of the Icythosaur

The Sclerocormus parviceps fossil was recovered from a Chinese quarry. The name was taken with regards to its small skull and body, The Guardian reported. While most dinosaur experts describe ichthyosaurs as to having teeth to catch prey, long snout and tail with big fins, the Sclerocormus parviceps did not have any of those. Instead, the new fossil had a shorter snout, thick ribcage, long tail with no fins and most of all, no teeth.


According to BBC, with the Sclerocormus parviceps lack of teeth, the marine reptile probably sucked food instead of chewing. Furthermore, scientists were amazed at the 1.6-metre length of the dinosaur as it appeared just after the mass extinction of the dinosaurs 250 years ago. This refutes the previous belief that ichthyosaurs and their relatives evolved very quickly. The new fossil dates back to the period after the mass extinction where a majority of terrestrial and marine dinosaurs were wiped off the face of the Earth.

Sclerocormus Parviceps Fossil is a Rare Piece of Evidence

The Sclerocormus parviceps fossil is an important piece of evidence as marine reptile fossils after the mass extinction era are rare, according to dinosaur experts, Discovery News noted. Furthermore, it challenges Charles Darwin's Evolution theory where species are supposed to evolve gradually over time. However, the fossil evidence seems to say otherwise.

Do you think the discovery of the Sclerocormus parviceps fossil challenges Darwin's theory of evolution? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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