A newly found fossil is about three million years younger than any previous pliosaur find, suggesting that plesiosaurs dominated the oceans when dinosaurs were on land.
Their estimated age is 150 million years.
According to local paleontologist Steve Etches, who helped with the find, the fossil was found around 36 feet above ground.
The group had to move swiftly to get the valuable and unusual fossil during ideal weather and before summer storms, perhaps destroying it.
Etches’s friend Philip Jacobs found the pliosaur snout in the sand.
After a three-week operation to chip away at a cliff, Etches and his colleagues mapped the cliff using drones and located the rest of the pliosaur. Jacobs and Etches improvised a stretcher to move the enormous fossil away from the site.
It was up to Etches to painstakingly restore the cranium. There came a time when the clay and bone shattered, which he described as “extremely disillusioning,” but they were eventually able to repair every bone.
When a remaining portion of the skull was missing, the fossil searchers charted and examined the lofty rock face above using drones.
According to the drones ‘ findings, the remaining portion of the skull was most likely around 36 feet above ground. The crew used that as a compass and set out on a complex excavation that required rappelling down the rock face. They hung from the cliffside for three weeks while they laboriously chipped the fossil out of its rock formation.
Etches said they were “very delighted” when they saw the fossil for the first time close “its jaws together,” which means the fossil is complete.
You can tell the monster is massive since its cranium is longer than the average person.
Its 130 teeth, particularly the front ones, will catch your eye.
Their length and sharpness made them lethal with only one bite. The pliosaur was the top predator in the seas; it was 10–12 meters long and had four strong appendages that allowed it to move quickly.