When it comes to Switzerland, the first thing we think about is the magnificent and majestic Alps. As a country with mainly mountainous terrain and high mountains, the average height of Switzerland reaches 1350 meters, and the highest point is Mount Dufour (Monte Rosa) 4634 meters high. Paleontologists recently discovered a giant sea fossils in Switzerland and proved that this place was a shallow sea hundreds of millions of years ago.
Arisdorf is a small town in northern Switzerland, in the administrative region of Basel (Basel-Land), a short distance from the famous Jura Mountains.
Location of the town Arisdorf.
Small town Ariesdorf.
Hans Holenweg is an avid collector and collector in the town of Arisdorf. He often goes to the foot of the Jura Mountains to find fossils. When lucky, he can find many fossils. During a field expedition, Horenweg discovered a 50 cm fossil. Because the fossil was a fragment, it was impossible to determine at which time what animal it was.
Topographic map of the height of Switzerland.
Horenweg handed over the fossils he discovered to paleontologists at the University of Zurich. After research, the researchers determined that the fossil was part of the jawbone of a species of lizard belonging to the Pliosauroidea class. After detailed study, paleontologists confirmed that this species of sea lizard can be longer than 9 meters, weighs at least 3 tons and jaw bone up to 1.5 meters long.
This is the first time a fossil of a Pliosauroidea sea lizard has been discovered in Switzerland and they are of great significance. The researchers published their study in the Swiss paleontological journal, titled “Rare evidence of a giant fossil of the lizard that turned out to be in the middle Jurassic in Switzerland”.
In the study describing this fossil sample came from a new species and has not yet been named, so it was temporarily called Arisdorf pliosaur, and their fossil samples are now stored in Paleontology Museum at the University of Zurich.
Pliosauroidea is an extinct marine reptile branch. Pliosauroids, also commonly known as pliosaurs, appear from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Pliosauroid are plesiosaurs with short neck, big head and huge teeth. These sea reptiles are not dinosaurs, but they are distant relatives of modern lizards. Initially they only included members of the Pliosauridae family, which belongs to the Plesiosauria family, but now include some other genera and families, the number and order of the limbs and they may vary depending on the taxonomy. used. Identification characteristics: short neck, elongated head, with larger hind flippers than the front flippers. They are carnivores, equipped with a long and strong pair of jaws and sharp conical teeth. They are about 4–15 m long and more. Their prey may include fish, sharks, Ichthyosauria, dinosaurs and some other snake-necked lizards.
Arisdorf pliosaur is a giant sea reptile, considered to be one of the leading predators in the ocean. Arisdorf is in the same shape as other Pliosauroidea species and is now found in many parts of Europe (France, England and Russia) with similarly shaped bones and teeth, but larger than these. Earlier fossils were found in Switzerland.
Arisdorf pliosaur has a giant head with a length of up to 1.5 meters, a wide and flat mouth with sharp steel-like teeth on both sides, these teeth can penetrate the skin and muscles of prey only one hit. The upper body of the Arisdorf pliosaur is very sturdy and they have a short tail. They also have four oar-shaped fins on either side of the body and are used for balance and navigation during marine life.
From the discovery of the upper fossil of Arisdorf, it lived in the Jurassic 170 million years ago. At that time, most of Europe was covered by oceans. And the Arisdorf pliosaur in that area was considered to be the sea monster that dominated the ocean, they were one of the top aquatic predators at the time. Paleontologists speculate that they survived on hunting of other marine lizards such as the long-necked plesiosaurs, as well as fish-like ichthyizard lizards.
Another important meaning of the discovery of the Arisdorf pliosaur is the time it takes to live. It is the earliest giant sea lizard in the era of the survival of marine lizards. Arisdorf can be said to usher in an era of gigantic sea lizards that rule the ocean. This era is 80 million years long.
A fossil fragment found on inland alpine mountains in Europe has changed our understanding of marine lizards and Jurassic marine ecosystems.