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New Sea Monster Found that Could Rewrite Evolution

By Christine Dell'Amore
May 18, 2013; 9:40 AM ET
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The following is an excerpt from National Geographic.

A new species of dinosaur-era sea reptile is rewriting the books on the evolution of so-called sea monsters, a new study claims. (Read "When Monsters Ruled the Deep" from National Geographic magazine.)

The new sea monster (pictured in an illustration) munched on fish in Cretaceous seas. Illustration courtesy Valentin Fischer.

The newfound-and potentially controversial-Malawania anachronus was a ten-foot (three-meter) long ichthyosaur, a group of dolphin-like creatures that could grow to 65 feet (20 meters) in length. These fast-swimming predators peaked in diversity during the Jurassic period. (Explore an interactive sea-monster time line.)

Oddly, though, new fossil analyses suggest that M. anachronus roamed the oceans of the early Cretaceous period-66 million years after its closely related cousins were thought to live.

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