Nevada Proud: Exploring Nevada Ichthyosaur State Park

Reported by: Bryan Samudio
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Updated: 4/30/2013 6:25 pm
BERLIN, Nev. (KRNV & -- Ancient oceanic reptiles, right in the middle of the Nevada desert: hard to believe, but fascinating to be sure. It's a reality in the central part of the Silver State at the Nevada Ichthyosaur State Park.

You might think the Ichthyosaur is six to eight feet long. That's pretty common, but there was a discovery in Lovelock that found a creature that was 33 feet long. That was the biggest one they found until 1928 when they met Shonisaurus Popularis, which is 60 feet long and weighs up to 40 tons.

"I like to say a mammal tends to wean their young, but a reptile tends to eat it," Nevada State Park Ranger Robin Riggs says.

So, the question remains, how did the Ichthyosaur die?

"It turned out to be red tide," Riggs says. "When it blooms, it will clog the gills on a fish. These guys didn't have that problem because they're air breathers. They'd surface to breathe, but they were eating the ammonites living in the red tide. That means they were ingesting the red tide, so [they were] basically poisoned. 

A 200 million year old oceanic predator will be forever preserved in the desert of the Silver State.

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