Researchers in Alaska have unearthed the fossil of a plesiosaur species called elasmosaur. The research team was led by the fossil collector Curvin Metzler. The species is described as having very long neck and limbs like paddles.
Elasmosaur is a type of plesiosaur which possesses a very long neck and a body which only covers a third of its length.it is believed that the species had lives in the late Cretaceous, nearly 70.5 million years ago. Since it is a marine reptile it is not classified as a dinosaur even though it lived in the age of dinosaurs, according to Theresa Bakker, a spokeswoman for the museum. In order for it to be called a dinosaur it should have walked on earth.
Science curator and marine expert Patrick Druckenmiller from the University of Alaska Museum of the North said that one only needs to picture Loch Ness, the mythical monster, and will get a good image of what the creature looked like.
The first elasmosaur was discovered in 1868 by Dr. Theophilus Turner. Ever since then there were more discoveries of such species of elasmosaur, but in the end they proved to be in fact other species of plesiosaur. However in this case scientists from the Museum of the North of the University of Alaska have actually confirmed that this is indeed a new species of elasmosaur.
In 2010 Metzler had discovered a nearly complete skeleton of an elasmosaur species on Montana. He offered it to the local museum in Fairbanks. Metzler has been spending a lot of time in trying to discover plesisaurs in the last few years. He has collected many other parts of fossils from different regions across the western regions of North America.
Druckenmiller commented on his discovery saying the following:
“I was really excited the first time Curvin showed me one of its bones. I recognized it as a vertebra from the base of the animal’s neck and wanted to visit the site to see if we could find more. Based on the size of the bones we excavated, the animal should be at least 25 feet long.”
The elasmosaur was buried in stone on a 60-foot cliff so they had some difficulties unearthing the fossil, but the two researchers believe that they will manage to recover the rest of the remains.
Image Source: sciencephoto.com