i24news has reported that fossilized skeletal remains of an ancient reptile dating back to 85 million years ago were discovered recently in the Arava desert in southern Israel, Israeli news site Ynet reported on Tuesday.
Parts of skeletons of the same species were found in the past in Iran, Jordan, Syria and Morocco.
Researchers from the Dead Sea and Arava Science Center found tooth and jaw fragments, broken limbs, fins and vertebrae of the Elasmosaurus (Elasmosaurid) reptile.
The Elasmosaurus was not “a dinosaur but a ‘cousin’ that lives in shallow waters of up to 200 meters,” Dr. Hanan Ginat told Ynet.
“The skeletal bones were found in a limestone bedrock rich with microscopic fossils that indicate a previous open marine environment with high fertility – that is to say there was a lot of marine life there,” said Dr. Ginat.
“The location, adjacent to the bone fragments, as well as the nature of the rock that was fossilized, indicate that the marine reptile was found (at the location) where he died. This is the first ever marine reptile of this kind found in Israel. In the past, similar evidence was found in Arab countries.
The fossilized finding in the limestone slab enables the research crew to understand the conditions and living environment of the Arava millions of years ago, which used to be the site of the ocean line of the ancient ocean of “Tethys.”