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Live plesiosaurs: weighing the evidence

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Author Topic: Live plesiosaurs: weighing the evidence  (Read 3419 times)
In the Mouth of Madness
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Posts: 1970

« Reply #30 on: October 15, 2011, 04:22:56 pm »


A real specimen of a living plesiosaur, or a recently deceased plesiosaur, would provide sufficient scientific evidence. Although no living specimens have been reported discovered, many corpses have been claimed to be plesiosaurs. The most famous example is the carcass of a large rotting animal caught by Japanese fishermen in 1977 and declared to be the remains of a plesiosaur. There are numerous lines of evidence that discredit this claim and confirm that it was a rotting basking shark (Kuban, 1996). Nevertheless, it is quite easy to see why an untrained eye might interpret this as a plesiosaur (Fig. 2). Perhaps the most convincing piece of the anatomy is what appears to be a small skull on a long neck (Fig. 3). However, when compared to the chondrocranium (braincase) of a basking skark (Fig. 4) it is clear that the similarity with a plesiosaur is only minimally superficial. The large jaws of the filter-feeding shark have rotted away to give the impression of a small head (the chondrocranium), and the flesh between the head and fins has rotted away to give the appearance of a longish neck.
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