Anchorage: An iguana-like creature with a needle-sharp snout has been confirmed from a fossilised skeleton as a species of the marine reptile thalattosaur previously unknown to science that roamed the coast of what is now Alaska 200 million years ago.
Dating from the Triassic period and identified from a lone fossil found in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, the creature has been named Gunakadeit joseeae, after a native Tlingit name for a legendary sea monster, according to an article published in the journal Scientific Reports.
It is the only intact thalattosaur fossil to be found in North America, says paleontologist Pat Druckenmiller, director of the University of Alaska Museum of the North and lead author of the study.
“This animal is striking because it’s got this super-sharp pointed snout. Literally, it’s needle-like,” Druckenmiller said, describing the creature as “weird”.