Life and death of a real sea monster

No, this is not Nessie, or any of the other dubious beasts reported by sailors who got a bit too deep into the grog. This is a real live Sea Monster — well, OK it’s a real dead one. And has been for 150 million years. But it may be the biggest marine predator that ever lived. The story of the discovery by Dr. Jørn Hurum and his team:

On 26 October 2009 palaeontologists reported the discovery of potentially the largest pliosaur yet found. The fossil had a skull length of 2.4 metres (7 ft 10 in) and a body length of 16 metres (52 ft). 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.”

National Geographic (as part of Expedition Week all this week on the NG channel) is presenting a special tonight on the expedition to the bleak Arctic outpost of Svalbard where the team found the fossils. NG video clips include intrepid field work, a giant inflatable sea monster, and the team packing heat to keep the polar bears at bay while they worked. (Hat tip to Laura D.)


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