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    Fossil Discovery Reveals Prehistoric Marine Predators in Poland

    Ancient marine predator teeth, first of their kind, discovered in Poland’s Owadów-Brzezinki quarry shed light on prehistoric ecosystems and species characteristics.

    Scientists from Jagiellonian University and Polish Academy of Sciences have unearthed four teeth, approximately 148 million years old, belonging to pleiosaurs. These fossils mark the first findings of these aquatic reptiles from the Owadów-Brzezinki quarry, a renowned paleontological site in Poland.

    Pleiosaurs, among the most common marine predators, inhabited Earth’s waters from the Late Triassic to the Late Cretaceous (about 237 million to 145 million years ago). Typically measuring 3.5 to 5 meters in length, they were characterized by a long, slender neck, short torso, and tail, along with two pairs of fins. Their primary diet consisted of fish.

    The Owadów-Brzezinki quarry stands as one of Poland’s most captivating paleontological sites, famed for preserving exceptionally well-preserved Late Jurassic fossils of marine and terrestrial organisms. Notably, it hosts various creatures like horseshoe crabs, rare in the fossil record, insects, and numerous vertebrates including ray-finned fish, turtles, crocodile relatives, and ichthyosaurs.

    The recent discoveries include four well-preserved teeth. These elongated, conical teeth with distinct curves and visible grooves led researchers to conclude that they belonged to pleiosaurs, potentially from the Cryptoclididae family found primarily in Northern Europe, particularly England.

    The largest tooth, measuring 5 cm in length, isn’t from a single individual. These teeth were found in different sections of the quarry over two years. Pleiosaurs typically had around 20 to 50 teeth in each jaw, but whether these teeth came from upper or lower jaws remains uncertain due to variations in pleiosaur dentition.

    Though complete skeletons of such large creatures are rare finds, researchers remain hopeful for more discoveries. The most substantial tooth is currently on display in the Museum Chamber of Ore Mining in Miedzianka and will eventually find its place in the Owadów-Brzezinki Geopark in Sławno.

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