Paleontologists demystify most fearsome monster

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - 19:47

London: Predator X, a gigantic, big-headed marine reptile 50-foot long and hailed as the most fearsome prehistoric creature, has finally been named and described, while the hype overshadowed the facts.
A team from the University of Oslo uncovered two big pliosaurs, short-necked, large jawed marine reptiles, with a bite four times as powerful as Tyrannosaurus Rex, between 2004 and and 2012 on the Arctic island of Svalbard.

Previously the only pliosaur remains found on the island was a section of tail vertebra, so the find was hailed as a major discovery.

The specimen dubbed Predator X got greater fame, while the other enjoyed five minutes in the spotlight as The Monster, the Norwegian Journal of Geology reported.

Paleontologists Espen Knutsen, Patrick Druckenmiller and Jorn Hurum have now named the creatures Pliosaurus funkei, and they admit the remains of both only offer partial views of what this marine apex predator was like alive, according to the Daily Mail.

Svalbard`s regular freeze-thaw cycles have severely fragmented the fossilised skeletons, the trio reported, and some parts further degraded as they dried them out in the lab.

Efforts to figure out the size of Pliosaurus funkei were complicated by this incomplete nature of the remains, with the paleontologists only able to estimate the size of their specimens based on measurements of other pliosaurs.

Both creatures had originally been estimated at a monstrous 50-feet long - making them the biggest pliosaurs ever found, according to Hurum, professor, when he announced the discovery. The new paper shrinks the beast somewhat.

IANS



First Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - 19:47

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