Paddle Tracks On Ancient Seafloor Reveal Ancient Reptile's Swimming Style
"Trackways" on an ancient seabed provide insight into how ancient marine reptiles called nothosaurs propelled themselves through the water.
These animals were the top predators during the Mesozoic, which took place between 66 and 252 million years ago, a Bristol University news release reported.
The nothosaurs were "voracious semi-aquatic hunters with elongate bodies and paddle-like limbs," the news release reported.
Researchers have long-wondered if the animals rowed back and forth with their limbs or "flew" under water like a penguin.
The team looked at an ancient seabed from China that contained 10 to 50 swooping lines that came in pairs believed to have been left behind by the ancient animal.
The finding suggests the nothasaur moved by rowing its forelimbs in unison.