The fossil remains of a giant marine reptile have just been discovered by a team of researchers from the University Of Alaska Museum Of The North. The remains were found in the Talkeetna Mountains and have been tracked back to the late Cretaceous period, roughly 70 million years ago.
The newly discovered Elasmosaur has been officially classified as a plesiosaur, and Patrick Druckenmiller, a marine fossil expert from the University Of Alaska Museum Of The North, instructs people to “picture the mythical Loch Ness monster” in order to get a pretty good idea of what the marine creature looked like.
The Elasmosaur had very a 14 meter long neck, and long limbs that resembled boat paddles and made it easy for the animal to swim underwater. The creature grew to be at least 25 feet long, and its estimated weight was somewhere around 4.409 ponds, meaning that it was one of the biggest and heaviest plesiosaurs to have ever lived in the Earth’s waters.
Technically speaking, the scientific community does not consider plesiosaurs to be dinosaurs, as they did not walk on land. However, they lived around the same time as dinosaurs and researchers have discovered more than a hundred (100) species since 1821.
The research team also informed that they breathed air and were warm-blooded marine animals that gave birth to their young. What’s more, experts strongly believe that they were fast hunters who went after large prey.
Druckenmiller also mentioned that he was very excited when Curvin Metzler, the Alaskan archaeologist and fossil collector who made the discovery, showed him one of the marine animal’s bones. He instantly recognized it as a vertebra due to the base of its neck, and he wanted them to go back and visit the site together in order to see whether or not they could find any more remains.
Druckenmiller stressed that the researchers only got out “a good chunk of the animal”, and that there’s still a lot more to excavate.
Metzler gave a statement of his own saying that he is “interested in finding invertebrates” for the most part, so when he saw the first vertebra he knew right away that he had found a bone from something. He went on to add that it was very important for him and for Druckenmiller not to “disturb anything in the cliff”, and expressed his gratitude that the state of Alaska had a person who works with fossils around at a time when he needed one.
While this is the first Elasmosaur to have ever been discovered in Alaska, Druckenmiller has uncovered plenty of them in the past, in different parts of the United States. One of his most noticeable discoveries dates back to 2010, when he and his team came across an almost complete Elasmosaur skeleton in Montana.
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