After an initial find of a huge pliosaur on the Artic island of Spitsbergen (see this post) in 2006, scientists are now reporting the discovery of a second specimen:
“Everything we are finding is new to science,” said Jorn H. Hurum, a paleontologist at the University of Oslo who directed the excavations on the Arctic island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago. He described new details of the find in a telephone interview last week.
Dr. Hurum said that in the Jurassic Period, Spitsbergen was covered by the then-temperate waters of a deep ocean. In 2006, the expedition began finding a variety of marine fossils, including pieces of the pliosaur skull, weathering out of a mountainside patrolled by polar bears. A year later, the university announced, the team came upon a flipper and much of the first pliosaur specimen.
But only after excavating the second specimen in last summer’s expedition and comparing the two were the scientists prepared to describe their findings about the huge pliosaur’s anatomy and probable physiology and hunting strategy. This was reported in recent science meetings, and Dr. Hurum said a full description would be published next year in a journal.
From the University of Oslo Press Release:
The scientists first hit the headlines in August 2007, when they excavated the skeleton of another pliosaur specimen in the same locality. On the last day of the 2007 expedition, Dr. Hurum spotted large bones in the earth. The team placed a marker, took a GPS reading and returned the following summer to excavate. Little did they realize that this new fossil would be even bigger and more significant than the pliosaur they had discovered the year before.New scientific research reveals that Predator X was approximately 50ft long, weighed in at 45 tons and packed an amazing 33,000lb bite. Its anatomy, physiology and hunting strategy all point to it being the ultimate predator – the most dangerous creature to patrol the Earth’s oceans.
See the University of Oslo Press Release for more information.
And see the introductory video.
(Images from the University of Oslo Press Release)