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Ages of the Earth => Dinosaurs => Topic started by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 11:10:51 am



Title: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 11:10:51 am
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/37/Plesiosaurus2.jpg)

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
 
Phylum: Chordata
 
Class: Sauropsida
 
Superorder: Sauropterygia
 
Order: Plesiosauria
 
Suborder: Plesiosauroidea
Gray, 1825
 
Families
Cimoliasauridae
Cryptoclididae
Elasmosauridae
Plesiosauridae
Polycotylidae



Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 11:11:25 am
Plesiosaurs (Greek: plesios meaning 'near' or 'close to' and sauros meaning 'lizard') were carnivorous aquatic (mostly marine) reptiles. After their discovery, they were somewhat fancifully said to have resembled "a snake threaded through the shell of a turtle", although they had no shell. The common name 'plesiosaur' is applied both to the 'true' plesiosaurs (Suborder Plesiosauroidea) and to the larger taxonomic rank of Plesiosauria, which includes both long-necked (elasmosaurs) and short-necked (polycotylid) forms. Short-necked, large-headed plesiosaurs are more properly called pliosaurs. There were many species of plesiosaurs and not all of them were as large as Liopleurodon, Kronosaurus or Elasmosaurus.

Plesiosaurs (sensu Plesiosauroidea) first appeared at the very start of the Jurassic Period and thrived until the K-T extinction, at the end of the Cretaceous Period. While they were Mesozoic reptiles that lived at the same time as dinosaurs, they were not dinosaurs.



Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 11:13:30 am
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/37/Plesiosaur_anning.gif)

The first plesiosaur fossil, discovered by Mary Anning, 1821.


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 11:14:07 am
History of discovery

The first plesiosaur skeletons were found in England by Mary Anning, in the early 1800s, and were amongst the first fossil vertebrates to be described by science. Many have been found, some of them virtually complete, and new discoveries are made frequently. One of the finest specimens was found in 2002 on the coast of Somerset (UK) by someone fishing from the shore. This specimen, called the Collard specimen after its finder, will be on display in Taunton museum in 2007. Another, less complete skeleton was also found in 2002, in the cliffs at Filey, Yorkshire, England, by an amateur palaeontologist. The preserved skeleton will be displayed at Scarborough's new Rotunda Museum, from 2007.

Many museums all over the world contain plesiosaur specimens. Notable among them is the collection of plesiosaurs in the Natural History Museum, London, which are on display in the marine reptiles gallery. Several historically important specimens can be found there, including the partial skeleton from Nottinghamshire reported by Stukely in 1719 which is the earliest written record of any marine reptile. Others specimens include those purchased from Thomas Hawkins in the early 19th century.

Historic specimens such as these are on display in several museums in the UK, including New Walk Museum, Leicester, The Yorkshire Museum, The Sedgwick Museum in Cambridge, Manchester Museum, Warwick Museum, Bristol Museum and the Dorset Museum. A historic specimen which has recently been prepared as part of a scientific study was put on display in Lincoln Museum in 2005. Peterborough Museum holds an excellent collection of plesiosaur material from the Oxford Clay brick pits in the surrounding area, most of which has been collected relatively recently. The most complete known specimen of the long-necked plesiosaur Cryptoclidus, excavated in the 1980s can be seen there.



Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 11:15:32 am
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/0/00/Cryptoclidus.JPG/800px-Cryptoclidus.JPG)

Cryptoclidus reconstruction in Oxford University Museum of Natural History


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 11:16:32 am
Description

Typical plesiosaurs had a broad body and a short tail. They retained their ancestral two pairs of limbs, which evolved into large flippers. Plesiosaurs evolved from earlier, similar forms such as pistosaurs or very early, longer-necked pliosaurs. There are a number of families of plesiosaurs, which retain the same general appearance and are distinguished by various specific details. These include the Plesiosauridae, unspecialised types which are limited to the Early Jurassic period; Cryptoclididae, (e.g. Cryptoclidus), with a medium-long neck and somewhat stocky build; Elasmosauridae, with very long, inflexible necks and tiny heads; and the Cimoliasauridae, a poorly known group of small Cretaceous forms. According to traditional classifications, all plesiosaurs have a small head and long neck but, in recent classifications, one short-necked and large-headed Cretaceous group, the Polycotylidae, are included under the Plesiosauroidea, rather than under the traditional Pliosauroidea.



Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 11:17:17 am
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/c/c7/Plesiosaur_paddle_c.jpg/800px-Plesiosaur_paddle_c.jpg)


Plesiosaur paddle in the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre.


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 11:17:51 am
Behaviour

Unlike their Pliosaurian cousins, Plesiosaurs (with the exception of the Polycotylidae) were probably relatively slow swimmers. It is likely that they cruised slowly below the surface of the water, using their long flexible neck to move their head into position to snap up unwary fish or cephalopods. Their unique, four-flippered swimming adaptation may have given them exceptional maneuverability, so that they could swiftly rotate their bodies as an aid to catching their prey.

Contrary to many reconstructions of plesiosaurs, it would have been impossible for them to lift their head and long neck above the surface, in the 'swan-like' pose that is often shown. Even if they had been able to bend their necks upward, to that degree (they could not), gravity would have tipped their body forward and kept most of the heavy neck in the water.



Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 11:20:09 am
Taxonomy
The classification of plesiosaurs has varied over time; the following represents one current version (see O'Keefe 2001)


•   Superorder SAUROPTERYGIA
o   Order PLESIOSAURIA
   Suborder Pliosauroidea
   Suborder Plesiosauroidea(Gray, 1825) Welles, 1943 sensu O'Keefe, 2001
   Plesiopterys O'Keefe, 2004
   Family Plesiosauridae Gray, 1825 sensu O'Keefe, 2001
   Attenborosaurus Bakker, 1993
   Plesiosaurus De la Beche & Conybeare, 1821
   (Unranked) Euplesiosauria O'Keefe, 2001
    ? Sthenarosaurus Watson, 1911 (nomen dubium)
    ? Eretmosaurus Seeley, 1874
    ? Leurospondylus Brown, 1913
   Superfamily Cryptoclidoidea Williston, 1925 sensu O'Keefe, 2001
   Family Cryptoclididae Williston, 1925 sensu O'Keefe, 2001
    ? Tatenectes O’Keefe & Wahl, 2003
    ? Colymbosaurus Seeley, 1874
   Cryptocleidus Seeley, 1892
   Muraenosaurus Seeley, 1874
   Pantosaurus Marsh, 1891
   Vinialesaurus Gasparini, Bardet & Iturralde-Vinent, 2002
   (Unranked) Tricleidia O'Keefe, 2001
   Family Tricledidae Nova
   Tricleidus Andrews, 1909
   Family Cimoliasauridae Delair, 1959 sensu O'Keefe, 2001
    ? Aristonectes Cabrea, 1941
   Kaiwhekea Cruickshank & Fordyce, 2002
   Kimmerosaurus Brown, 1981
   Cimoliasaurus Leidy, 1851 (nomen dubium)
   Family Polycotylidae Williston, 1909 sensu O'Keefe, 2001
    ? Edgarosaurus Druckenmiller, 2002
    ? Georgiasaurus Otschev, 1978
   Polycotylus Cope, 1869
   Dolichorhynchops Willison, 1903
   Trinacromerum Cragin, 1888
   Sulcusuchus Gasparini & Spalletti, 1990
   Thililua Bardet, Pereda Suberbiola & Jalil, 2003
   Family Elasmosauridae Cope, 1869 sensu Bardet, Godefroit & Sciau, 1999
    ? Morenosaurus Welles, 1943
   Occitanosaurus Bardet, Godefroit & Sciau, 1999
   Microcleidus Watson, 1911
   Family Elasmosauridae Cope, 1869 sensu O'Keefe, 2001
    ? Futabasaurus Sato, Hasegawa & Manabe, 2006
    ? Orophosaurus Cope, 1887 (nomen dubium)
    ? Woolungasaurus Persson, 1960
    ? Ogmodirus Williston & Moodie, 1913 (nomen dubium)
    ? Fresnosaurus Welles, 1943
    ? Piptomerus Cope, 1887 (nomen vanum)
    ? Goniosaurus Meyer, 1860
    ? Mauisaurus Hector, 1874
    ? Aphrosaurus Welles, 1943
    ? Hydrotherosaurus Welles, 1943
    ? Hydralmosaurus Welles, 1943
    ? Terminonatator Sato, 2003
    ? Turangisaurus Wiffen & Moisley, 1986
    ? Thalassomedon Welles, 1943
   Elasmosaurus Cope, 1869
   Brancasaurus Wegner, 1914
   Callawayasaurus Carpenter, 1999
   Libonectes Carpenter, 1997
   Styxosaurus Welles, 1943




Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 11:21:07 am
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8b/Attenborosaurus_BW.jpg)

Attenborosaurus


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 11:22:39 am
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f7/Cryptocleidus_BW.jpg)

Cryptocleidus


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 11:23:51 am
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/70/Muraenosaurus_BW.jpg)

Muraenosaurus


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:04:11 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/10/Dolichorhynchops_BW.jpg)

Dolichorhynchops


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:06:41 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0f/Thililua_BW.jpg)

Thililua


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:07:50 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8a/Thalassomedon_BW.jpg)

Thalassomedon


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:08:51 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0a/Libonectes_BW.jpg)

Libonectes


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:09:33 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/71/Styxosaurus_BW.jpg)

Styxosaurus


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:10:08 pm
The plesiosaur is popular among children and cryptozoologists, appearing in a number of children's books and several films, including an icthyosaur in Jules Verne's novel Journey to the Center of the Earth. However, in Verne's story it is described as being much larger than it was in reality, and shown as having a shell like a turtle. In the bizarre 1899 short story "The Monster of Lake LaMetrie", a man's brain was put into the body of a plesiosaur.

It has appeared in films about lake monsters, including Magic in the Water (1995), and movies about the Loch Ness Monster, such as Loch Ness (1996). In both films, the creature primarily serves as a symbol of a lost, child-like sense of wonder. The plesiosaur is also present in the Japanese Jaws-inspired movie Legend of the Dinosaurs (1983).

Contrary to reports, the long-necked, sharp-toothed creature in the classic film King Kong (1933), which flips a raft full of rescuers on their way to save Fay Wray and then munches on the swimmers, is not a plesiosaur. Despite striking a profile in the mist very similar to the famous 'Surgeon's Photo' of the Loch Ness Monster, it then chases the routed heroes onto dry land, where it is clearly intended to be a sauropod, like Brontosaurus (now Apatosaurus). However, Kong later battles a serpent-like creature in a cave, which possesses four flippers and resembles a plesiosaur but acts more like some kind of giant snake. But it has been rumored to be a Tanystropheus, a long necked prehistoric reptile which swam in the ocean, catching fish, much like plesiosaurs.

In Steve Alten's novel The Trench, a climatic scene at the end has a Megalodon fighting with several deep sea reptiles, similar to Pliosaurs, identified as Kronosaurs.


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:11:11 pm
Alleged living plesiosaurs

Lake or sea monster sightings are occasionally explained by cryptozoologists as plesiosaurs [citation needed]. While the survival of a small, unrecorded breeding colony of plesiosaurs for the 65,000,000 years since their apparent extinction is unlikely, the discovery of real and even more ancient living fossils such as the Coelacanth and of previously unknown but enormous deep-sea animals such as the giant squid, have fuelled imaginations.

The 1977 discovery of a carcass with flippers and what appeared to be a long neck and head, by the Japanese fishing trawler Zuiyo Maru, off New Zealand, created a plesiosaur craze in Japan. Members of a blue-ribbon panel of eminent marine scientists in Japan reviewed the discovery. Professor Yoshinori Imaizumi, of the National Science Museum of Japan, said, "It's not a fish, whale, or any other mammal." However, the general consensus amongst scientists today is that it was a decayed basking shark. The long neck described may be attributed to the loss of the lower jaw (a favorite of scavengers).

The Loch Ness Monster has been reported to resemble a plesiosaur. Arguments against the plesiosaur theory include the fact that the lake is too cold for a cold-blooded animal to survive easily, that air-breathing animals like plesiosaurs would be easily spotted when they surface to breathe, that the lake is too small to support a breeding colony and that the loch itself formed only 10,000 years ago during the last ice age.

However, these arguments have all been opposed by Robert Rines, who said that "animals can adapt" and that "some reptiles can stay in water for a long time". "Many sightings tell of "horns" or "ears", which may be nostrils. If it (the monster) breathes regularly, it could breathe without being noticed".

The National Museums of Scotland confirmed that vertebrae discovered on the shores of Loch Ness, in 2003, belong to a plesiosaur, although there are some questions about whether the fossils were planted (BBC News, July 16, 2003).

Beached carcasses that prove controversial or hard to identify, a phenomenon known as globsters, have fueled the debate about living plesiosaurs. It was reported in The Star (Malaysia) on April 8, 2006, that fishermen discovered bones resembling that of a Plesiosaur near Sabah, Malaysia. The creature was speculated to have died only a month before. A team of researchers from Universiti Malaysia Sabah investigated the specimen but the bones were later determined to be those of a whale.

On November 2, 2006, Leslie Noč of the Sedgwick Museum in Cambridge, UK, announced research which casts further doubt on a plesiosaur inhabiting Loch Ness. While many sightings of the monster include reports of it lifting its head out of the water, including the Spurling photo, Noč's study of fossilized vertebrae of a Muraenosaurus concluded this articulation would not be possible. Instead, he found that the neck evolved to point downwards allowing the plesiosaur to feed on soft-shelled animals living on the sea floor.

Another creature closely resembling a plesiosaur has been reported to exist in Lake Khaiyr in Eastern Siberia. However, due to the extreme remoteness of the location and the fear of volcanic activity, the lake is rarely visited by scientists or tourists and consequently there have been few sightings.



Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:12:34 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9c/Elasmosaurus.jpg)

Elasmosaurus.

Source: http://www.copyrightexpired.com/


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:13:28 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/34/Kronosaurus_BW.jpg)

Kronosaurus queenslandicus, a pliosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Australia


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:14:49 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/21/Kronosaurus_queenslandicus.jpeg)

Kronosaurus_queenslandicus


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:15:54 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e7/Kronosaurus.jpg/800px-Kronosaurus.jpg)

Kronosaurus.jpg


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:16:59 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7f/Leedsi%26Liopl_DB.jpg/800px-Leedsi%26Liopl_DB.jpg)

Leedsichthyes problematicus & Liopleurodon rossicus


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:17:57 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0a/Libonectes_BW.jpg)

Libonectes morgani, a plesiosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Texas


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:18:55 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c9/Liopleurodon_BW.jpg)

Liopleurodon BW.jpg


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:19:35 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fb/Macroplata_BW.jpg)

Macroplata BW.jpg


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:20:34 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/53/Mauisaurus_BW.jpg)

Mauisaurus haasti, a plesiosaur from the Late Cretaceous of New Zealand


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:21:18 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/53/Mauisaurus_BW.jpg)

Mauisaurus BW.jpg


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:22:29 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/ba/Megalneusaurus027.jpg/428px-Megalneusaurus027.jpg)

Megalneusaurus


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:23:14 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/70/Muraenosaurus_BW.jpg)

Muraenosaurus


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:24:06 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8b/Peloneustes_BW.jpg)

Peloneustes philarchus, a pliosaur from the Upper Jurassic of Europe, 3 m


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:25:03 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a4/Pistosaurus_BW.jpg)

Pistosaurus longaevus, a plesiosaur from the Middle Triassic of Europe, pencil drawing (reconstruction after Carroll, 1988)


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Mark of Australia on October 09, 2007, 09:25:59 pm
Hi Melody ,

I remember a few years back ,out in the desert of Australia a plesiosaur was found that is one of the best preserved  ,and its fossil bones had actually become opalized !! I'll look into it sometime.


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:26:41 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b1/Plesiosaur_%26_Mary_Anning_plaque_NHM.JPG)

Plesiosaur & Mary Anning plaque


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:28:57 pm
Hi Mark!

Thanks for looking. You'll notice that a lot of these plesiosaurs were found in the Australia/HNew Zealand area, so that are must have been very popular with them.

There was also a fossil of one found in Loch Ness, but that is another story!


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:29:51 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6c/Plesiosaur-illustration.png)

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/15/Plesiosaurus_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_16033.gif)


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:30:47 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/ae/Plesiosaurus_Mivart.png/800px-Plesiosaurus_Mivart.png)

Skeleton of Plesiosaurus.

Illustration from "On The Genesis of Species" by St. George Mivart, F.R.S. (1827-1900.) London: Macmillan and Co. 1871.


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:32:13 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/66/Plesiosaurus_hawkinsi_NHM.jpg)

Plesiosaurus hawkinsi NHM.jpg


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:33:08 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/04/Plesiosaurus.jpg)

Source:http://www.copyrightexpired.com/earlyimage/prehistoriclifebeforekt/plesiosaurus04.html



Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:34:13 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/37/Plesiosaurus2.jpg)

Plesiosaurus drawing by Adam Stuart Smith.
 
Source http://www.plesiosauria.com/
 


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:35:04 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/60/RhomaelosaurusDBjpg.jpg/668px-RhomaelosaurusDBjpg.jpg)


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:36:05 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/48/Rhomaleosaurus_BW.jpg)


Rhomaleosaurus megacephalus, a pliosaur from the Early Jurassic of Europe, pencil drawing


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Mark of Australia on October 09, 2007, 09:36:21 pm
Your welcome Melody

Loch ness huh ? ::)  ,considering some of the subjects on this forum ,I suppose the Loch Ness monster is fair game. ;)

But maybe if fossils of Plesiosurs were discovered around Loch Ness in the past ,that could account for the legend?  ..Just a thought. I'm not really sure if the Loch Ness monster is an ancient or modern myth.


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:37:25 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/17/Rhomaleosaurus_victor.jpg/428px-Rhomaleosaurus_victor.jpg)


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:41:11 pm
Mark,

All the eyewitnesses who claim to have seen a monster in Loch Ness claim it to look like a plesiosaur.  I think it is an awfully big coincidence that plesiosaur fossils have also recently been found in Loch Ness, don't you?  Of course, scientists are quick to write it off as a coincidence!


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:42:51 pm
Here is the original article, if you are interested!

Pensioner finds 'Nessie' fossil
 

(http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/39284000/jpg/_39284577_fossil203.jpg)
 
Experts say the find is not related to Nessie
A Jurassic fossil discovered in Loch Ness by a Scots pensioner could be the original Loch Ness monster, according to Nessie enthusiasts.
The fossilised remains of a 150-million-year-old plesiosaur was discovered by pensioner Gerald McSorley, from Stirling, submerged in shallow water on the bank of the loch.

The long-necked, carnivorous sea reptile which ruled the world's seas between 200 and 65 million years ago - during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods - bears a striking resemblance to modern images of the Loch Ness monster.

Experts have described the find as extremely interesting, but stressed that it is not related to the famous creature.

Loch Ness did not exist until the last Ice Age - which finished about 12,000 years ago.

  The find is very interesting because nothing of its nature has ever been discovered on the shores of the loch before

Dr Lyall Anderson
National Museum of Scotland 
The fossil clearly shows four perfectly preserved vertebrae, complete with spinal chord, and blood vessels, set in grey limestone.

Scientists at the National Museum of Scotland confirmed that the find - the first of its kind in Scotland for more than a century and the first ever at Loch Ness - is evidence that the 35-ft-long monster once existed in the area.

Nessie hunters, who are keeping the exact location of the find a closely guarded secret, will now search the area further for more extensive remains.

Mr McSorley, 67, found the fossil after stumbling in shallow water near the bank of the loch.

More searches

"I literally tripped over the fossil in the water," he said.

"When I put my hands down to steady myself I saw something unusual and picked it up.

"Once I had cleaned off about an inch of green algae, and I could see the texture of the bone, it became clear I had an important fossil. "

Mr McSorley took his find to the National Museum in Edinburgh, where scientists confirmed it was of an adult plesiosaur.

(http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/39284000/jpg/_39284573_geraldmcsorley203.jpg)

 
Gerald McSorley discovered the fossil

Mr McSorley, a former scrap merchant, added: "I have always believed in the Loch Ness monster, but this proves it for me.

"The resemblance between this and the sightings which have been made are so similar."

Dr Lyall Anderson, a curator at the National Museum who has examined the fossil, said it formed part of the backbone of a plesiosaur which would have existed in Scotland between 150 and 155 million years ago.

He said: "The find is very interesting because nothing of its nature has ever been discovered on the shores of the loch before.

"It could be that further remains exist in the same area.

"The closest we have is the discovery of plesiosaur fossils at Eathie on the Moray Firth 150 years ago."

Gary Campbell, the president of the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club, said it was possible that it was a fossil which originated in the local area.

"On the other hand it could have been planted - probably not by the man who found it, but we have a history of things being planted on the loch conveniently for people to find," he speculated.



 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3069803.stm


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:44:07 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c6/Sinohydrosaurus.JPG/800px-Sinohydrosaurus.JPG)


Sinohydrosaurus fossil displayed in Hong Kong Science Museum


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:44:59 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/71/Styxosaurus_BW.jpg)

Styxosaurus


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:46:09 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/da/Thalassiodracon_BW.jpg)

Thalassiodracon hawkinsi, a Plesiosaur from the Early Jurassic of England


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:47:07 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0f/Thililua_BW.jpg)

Thililua longicollis, a plesiosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Morocco


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:48:14 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e9/Trinacromerum_BW.jpg)


Trinacromerum bentonianum, a plesiosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Kansas


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 09, 2007, 09:49:16 pm
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0a/Umoonasaurus_BW.jpg)

Umoonasaurus demoscyllus, a plesiosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Australia


Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Mark of Australia on October 09, 2007, 10:01:11 pm
Thanks Melody ,

Am I interested !?!  ,It's very interesting!!  I had not heard of that discovery ,If it turns out to be genuine and not planted I think that pretty much explains the myth of Loch Ness ,but I 'm no expert on this subject.

They need to excavate, it would be virtually impossible to plant an entire fossil Plesiosaur! or even much more than a few pieces.



Title: Re: Plesiosaur
Post by: Melody Stacker on October 10, 2007, 01:27:42 am
Sure, Mark!  You'll notice that the experts are quick to say it is unrelated to the real Loch Ness Monster, by the way.  According to their plan for the past, the Loch wasn't formed until after the last Ice Age, 12,000 years ago, while this fossil is 150 million years old! 

I always thought that the scientists were a bit quick in dismissing it, though. Here is the exact creature that everyone is looking for in Loch Ness, and they dismiss it!  I think that the Loch was formed much earlier, during a warm spell, and that these creatures have been living there for years.

I'll check on the find more later when I have time.