Scientists have discovered the fossil record, which was the missing link between an ancient aquatic dolphin like predator and some ancestors called as Ichthyosaurs. These Ichthyosaurs used to live on earth, a long back. Scientists reported that these Ichthyosaurs used to live in sea water, where the dinosaurs evolved from land animals and returned to water, over a long period of time.
Although the lineage had been suspected by the paleontologists for many years, but still the fossil record is not very clear. Researcher speculated that the lineage exists between the land creatures and their ocean going descendants.
Researchers from University of California,Davis found the clear link in the form of a fossil, between the two animals in China in 2011. The fossil is reported to be 248 million years old. The University named it as Cartorhynchus lenticarpus.
Earlier there was no fossil evidence to prove their transition from land to sea, until the discovery in China’s Anuhi Province. On the contrary. Ryosuke Motani, professor of planetary sciences at the University of California reported, “But now we have this fossil showing the transition. Unlike later ichthyosaurs completely adapted to a life at sea, it possessed unusually large and flexible flippers, like a modern-day seal, with flexible wrists that would have allowed it to crawl on the ground. There’s nothing that prevents it from coming onto land.”
It is pertinent to mention here that Ryosuke is the lead author of the study. He further stated that, “And rather than strictly terrestrial or marine, the creature was a true amphibian.”
It sounds reasonable, as the amphibians can switch between both the habitats. They can survive on land and water both. The lead author also reported that the fossil in china fits the picture very nicely.
As per his statement, “The discovery could be a problems for creationists who’ve tried to suggest the creatures’ developing “backward” from land animals to sea creatures somehow disproves evolution. Many creationists have tried to portray ichthyosaurs, as being contrary to evolution. We knew based on their bone structure that they were reptiles, and that their ancestors lived on land at some time, but they were fully adapted to life in the water. So creationists would say, well, they couldn’t have evolved from those reptiles, because where’s the link?”
He reported that, “after a long period, we have finally found the long missed fossil, which is one and a half feet long. It has finally filled the evolutionary gap of the fossil record.
Motani further reported that he is looking for more fossils to improve the record and is also willing to find out the direct ancestors of Cartorhynchus lenticarpus. He suspects that those ancestors would be amphibians as well, but spent more time on land.