Sep 17, 2010

Colossal 'sea monster' unearthed

The fossilised skull of a colossal "sea monster" has been unearthed along the UK's Jurassic Coast. The ferocious predator, which is called a pliosaur, terrorised the oceans 150 million years ago. The skull is 2.4m long, and experts say it could belong to one of the largest pliosaurs ever found: measuring up to 16m in length.

The fossil, which was found by a local collector, has been purchased by Dorset County Council. It was bought with money from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and it will now be scientifically analysed, prepared and then put on public display at Dorset County Museum.

Palaeontologist Richard Forrest told the BBC: "I had heard rumours that something big was turning up. But seeing this thing in the flesh, so to speak, is just jaw dropping. It is simply enormous." Pliosaurs were a form of plesiosaur, a group of giant aquatic reptiles that dominated the seas around the same time that dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

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