Olivier Rieppel and Jim Holstein tell the tale of the giant Lizard Eating Sovereign of the Sea (named Jim!). Touted as the "T. rex of the Sea," the Triassic sea monster was unearthed and brought back to The Field Museum where we hope to learn more about this new species. Research into this fascinating creature may teach us something about biodiversity crises and the recovery of ecosystems, both past and present.
In 1998, a team of Field Museum scientists was working in the Augusta Mountains of Nevada. It was then, that the specimen we know as "Jim" was found. The Field Museum's Martin Sander made sure to include the size and characteristics of Jim's teeth in his field notes. Using these field notes from The Field Museum's expedition, Dr. Nadia Frobisch of the University of Bonn in Germany returned to Nevada, excavated Jim and published a paper which documented a new species of Ichthyosaur, Thalattoarchon saurophagis or "the lizard-eating ruler of the seas." We now know that Jim was a 28-foot-long marine super predator that lived during the Triassic Period 244 million years ago. Read here to learn more about this important find.Photos courtesy of John Weinstein and National Geographic.