During the Lower Cretaceous, some 125 million years ago, the Iberian Peninsula was very different from how we know it today. So much so that in what is now the village of Morella in Castellón, for example, a large delta had developed along the coast.
These shallow waters were home to a group of marine reptiles known as plesiosaurs, with small heads, long necks, short tails and wide, cylindrical bodies with large fins. Although they co-existed with the dinosaurs and became extinct at the same time, these reptiles, which may have exceeded 15 metres in length, were not closely related to the dinosaurs.
In a new study, published in the Cretaceous Research journal, a group of UNED (National Distance Education University) palaeontologists has now discovered, in the quarry of Mas de la Parreta in Morella, an abundant and exclusive collection of remains of several plesiosaurs specimens that coexisted with the dinosaurs.