In the Chilean city of Punta Arenas, authorities from the Río Seco Natural Museum presented the discovery of Fiona, the ichthyosaur female that was pregnant and with an embryo inside.
This marine specimen, which lived from the Lower Triassic to the Upper Cretaceous, was found on the Tyndall Glacier in Chilean Patagonia.
“I am very happy, this is only the beginning, there is a lot of work to prepare. Fiona is going to be groomed from the other side, not the side that she is exposed to. Preparation means the removal of the rock that contains it, with mechanical tools. The laboratory is going to be right there where Fiona is”, explained Judith Pardo, paleontologist, leader of the investigation.
Miguel Cáceres, director of the Natural History Museum of Río Seco, who explained that in order to be exhibited to the public, they will have to wait around three years.
“We are going to have to implement a lot of apparatus, technical devices, machines, which are going to allow both, consolidate and protect the blocks, the assembly of the skeleton and also the subsequent preparation,” he said.
For her part, Judith Pardo added that, “we will analyze its paleobiology, because we have the embryos that are there. Once the rock is prepared and removed, we will see if it has more embryos, and we will also study its diseases, since it has a trauma to a fin and we want to know what that represents and how much it affected its life.”
In the area of the Tyndall glacier there are several specimens of ichthyosaurs, but the working conditions for their excavation have been precarious and complex.