Described as an underwater equivalent to the T. rex, the pliosaur, a sea monster discovered on the Jurassic Coast, measured 10 to 12 meters and boasted four powerful flipper-like limbs. Dr Andre Rowe from Bristol University drew parallels to the iconic dinosaur species, emphasizing the pliosaur’s status as the ultimate marine killing machine.
In a groundbreaking discovery on the famed Jurassic Coast of Dorset, South West England, paleontologists have unearthed the skull of a colossal sea monster known as the pliosaur. The 2-meter-long fossil, considered one of the most complete, provides valuable insights into the ancient marine predator that stalked the seas approximately 150 million years ago.
Reports describe the skull as a formidable specimen adorned with 130 razor-sharp teeth, suggesting the pliosaur’s ability to deliver a lethal bite. Local paleontologist Steve Etches expressed his astonishment, emphasizing the uniqueness of the find, stating, “It’s one of the best fossils I’ve ever worked on. What makes it unique is it’s complete.”
The sea monster discovered on the Jurassic Coast unfolded through a daring excavation prompted by a drone survey, which identified the likely location on the towering cliff face. Months of meticulous cleaning and examination followed, with researchers suspended 15 meters above the beach, ensuring the fossil’s delicate preservation.
Palaeobiologist Prof Emily Rayfield’s examination revealed the pliosaur’s astonishing bite force, estimated at around 33,000 newtons, surpassing even modern saltwater crocodiles. The fossil also hinted at the pliosaur’s acute senses, with snout pits possibly detecting changes in water pressure made by prey. Intriguingly, a hole in its head housed a parietal, or third, eye, suggesting light sensitivity for navigating murky waters and locating prey.
This discovery represents a significant addition to our understanding of ancient marine life and underscores the importance of the Jurassic Coast as a treasure trove of paleontological wonders. As researchers continue to analyze the findings, the pliosaur’s reign as a formidable underwater predator comes to life, offering a glimpse into the mysteries of our planet’s ancient oceans.