If a 45-foot ichthyosaur, equal to a giant squid-eating sperm whale in the Triassic period, wasn’t scary enough, Mount Holyoke College paleontologist Mark McMenamin says they have an even more frightening predator.
According to The Geological Society Of America, McMenamin took a look at some of the remains of ichthyosaurs in Nevada and now thinks there was an even larger sea monster that preyed on the ichthyosaurs, a gigantic kraken.
The evidence of the giant kraken’s existence is how and where the ichthyosaurs died. Recent work on the rocks around the fossils suggest they died in a deep water environment, where their carcasses remained strangely neatly arranged.
The new evidence dismisses earlier claims that they were stranded accidentally or from a toxic plankton bloom.
McMenamin says that the different degrees of etching on the bones suggested that the shonisaurs were not all killed and buried at the same time and also that the bones were purposefully rearranged—In the fossil bed, some of the shonisaur vertebral disks are arranged in curious linear patterns with almost geometric regularity.
“It became very clear that something very odd was going on there,” said McMenamin in a press release. “It was a very odd configuration of bones.”
The modern octopus does this manipulation of bones. The Triassic kraken, a very large sort of octopus from mythology, seems a likely suspect, though this will be hard to prove because octopuses are soft-bodied and don’t fossilize well.
McMenamin says he thinks these things were captured by the kraken and taken to the middle and the cephalopod would take them apart.
One reason this theory could be possible is that a few years ago, an octopus was caught killing large sharks at the Seattle Aquarium. The Kraken attack is similar to the octopus shark attack because evidence points to broken ribs and twister necks in the fossils.