Norwegian MonsterPosted: March 3, 2008
Nick-named by the Oslo Uni team of paleontologists who discovered it, the Monster – a Jurassic era pliosaur – looks to be the largest marine reptile ever.
Measurements of parts of the partial skeleton discovered in the Svalbard archipelago (within 1000km of the North Pole) indicate that the creature was probably around 15 metres in length. The previous record holder was an Australian discovery: the kronosaur, outlined above along with a very unlucky diver, at a comparatively measly 10 metres.
Pliosaurs were at the top of their food chain more than 150 million years ago. Gigantic crocodile-like carnivores, their streamlined body shape, powerful flippers and mouthful of sharp, conical teeth would have struck terror into their prey.
Together with The Monster, the Norwegian team also discovered the fossilised remains of a long-necked plesiosaur and an icthyosaur. These discoveries will keep Oslo Uni paleontologists busy for several years to come!