Found The King of Prehistoric Seas

By Guido Trombetta on 8:02 AM ,

Artist's interpretation of the monster catching a pterosaur - Artwork by Tor Sponga, BT

Remains of a bus-sized prehistoric plesiosaur has been found on the Arctic island chain of Svalbard - about halfway between the Norwegian mainland and the North Pole. The skeleton has been nicknamed "The Monster" because of its enormous size, roughly 15 meters, a length that makes this animal the biggest sea dinosaurs ever found.

These animals were the top predators living in what was then a relatively cool, deep sea. Plesiosaurs are said to fit descriptions of Scotland's mythical Loch Ness monster. They used two sets of powerful flippers for swimming and came in two varieties - one with a small head and very long neck, and another with a large head and short neck. The short-necked ones, like "The Monster" are known as pliosaurs.
The discovery of a gigantic pliosaur is one of the most remarkable discoveries of the palaeontologists from the University of Oslo's Natural History Museum.
Its skeleton has dinner-plate-sized neck vertebrae, and the lower jaw has teeth as big as bananas.


Artist's interpretation of the monster catching a smaller plesiosaur - Artwork by Tor Sponga, BT


Artist's interpretation of the monster hunting ichthyosaurs - Artwork by Tor Sponga, BT


Size comparison - Killer whale, Blue whale, Pliosaur ("The Monster") and human dive - Artwork by Tor Sponga, BT


Size comparison between the Kronosaurus, the biggest sea dinosaurs until the discovery of the Svalbard monster

Pictures from the workfield on the Svalbard Island:





Read more and visit the official page of the Natural History Museum, University of Oslo about the discovery

All the pictures are © Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, Norway

Comments

1 Response to 'Found The King of Prehistoric Seas'

  1. Anonymous
    http://seawayblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/found-king-of-prehistoric-seas.html?showComment=1240046040000#c7549094687584558335'> April 18, 2009 at 11:14 AM

    Pliosaurs were actually no "sea dinosaurs", because there were no marine dinosaurs at all. Animals like pliosaurs, mosasaurs or ichthyosaurs were marine reptiles which were not very closely related to the dinosaurs.
    This animal was also by far not the largest marine reptile ever found. There was a giant ichthyosaur found in Canada which was 21m in length, and there is a fossil of a pliosaur from Aramberi, Mexico, which was about 15-18m long and still a juvenile. It was killed by another much bigger pliosaur, in the 20-25m range.