Around 165 million years ago, marine reptiles called plesiosaurs swam the deep Jurassic seas. Today, finding plesiosaur bones in a quarry in Cambridgeshire is not uncommon, but finding a close-to-complete skeleton and its skull is very rare. “I’d never seen so much bone in one spot in a quarry,” explained Oxford Clay Working Group member Carl Harrington of the long-necked specimen when it was discovered in 2016.
“As I was digging amongst the wet clay, the snout of a plesiosaur started to appear in front of me. It was one of those absolute ‘wow’ moments – I was the first human to come face to face with this reptile.”
The second short-necked specimen in the exhibit, also known as a pliosaur, was discovered in Yarnton, Oxfordshire, just 8 kilometers from the museum. In the video below, semi-retired assistant curator Philip Powell discusses that plesiosaur’s discovery in 1994:
Watch this next: Mary Anning, the greatest fossilist the world ever knew.
Plus, plesiosaurs are not dinosaurs, but you can find those in the video archives, too, including:
• How scientists solved this dinosaur puzzle
• Dinosaur fossils uncovered on an Antarctic expedition
• Meet the Titanosaur at AMNH
• A swimming dinosaur: The revealing tail of Spinosaurus aegyptiacus
Bonus: Whale fall-related videos.
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