Ancient Sea Monster Found: New Species Is a Cross Between Crocodile & Whale

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87 million years ago was a dangerous time for those looking for a simple dip in the lake. According to National Geographic, fossils of an ancient, freshwater sea monster have been found in Hungary.

This newly discovered creature, named Pannoniasaurus, belongs to a family of aquatic reptiles known as mosasaurs. The animals swam the Earth 87 million years ago, and looked like a cross between crocodiles and whales. This Pannoniasaurus is believed to be the first of the mosasaurs to spend its entire life in fresh water.

The fossils were found among numerous others at the waste dump of a coal mine. Among the Pannoniasaurus specimens found, there were also several fossils of younger animals. Fossils of juveniles are a rare discovery. This leads researchers to believe that the formerly freshwater area was the habitat for generations of the Pannoniasaurus.

While the Pannoniasaurus looks intimidating, the creature was not likely a vicious apex predator. Instead, the animal probably contented itself on a steady diet of smaller fish. These sea monsters did have one thing that set them apart from many other mosasuars: leg-like limbs. These limbs signal that the Pannoniasaurus most likely behaved similar to a crocodile, occasionally clamoring on land to regulate body temperature.

Scientists think the Pannoniasaurus is the first of several freshwater sea monsters that will emerge over time as investigations and research continues.

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