Over 80-Million-Year-Old Sea Reptile Unveiled

Created: 2013-07-02 07:32 EST

Category: World > South America

A natural sciences museum in Buenos Aires unveiled a replica of a one-of-a-kind prehistoric reptile they say hunted the seas of the Patagonia region millions-of-years-ago.

Experts have classified the Tuarangisaurus as part of a group of marine reptiles from the Triassic Period.
[Fernand Novas, Palaeontologist]:
"Tuarangisaurus was a 10-foot-long animal similar in its general appearance, perhaps in its ecological roll, to modern day sea lions on the coasts of the Patagonia. They are not at all closely related, just in the sense of the ecological roll they filled. They eat fish, and the Plesiosaurs most certainly did this too, especially the Tuarangisaurus. It was an animal with a flattened, wide body and it could have weighed some six-thousand-six-hundred-pounds and was part of the prehistoric sea fauna from our country from millions of years ago." 
Fossils of the specimen were originally discovered in the Patagonia Province of Rio Negro in 2000.
[Fernand Novas, Palaeontologist]: 
"What we did was to gather the skeletal pieces of the Tuarangisaurus we had, which were discovered by Hector Cabaza. We did reconstructions of the missing pieces and then a replica of this. A replica made of polyurethane foam which is a very light material that is very accurate when copying the surface of bones. And with this we were able to display the skeleton of this creature. It is the first time that we've had it here, in the Argentine Natural Sciences Museum."
The installation, "Monsters of Argentina's Prehistoric Seas" recreates the waters of the Patagonia as they are believed to have been some one-hundred-and-fifty-million years ago.