February 27, 2008Dubbed the "the Monster," this newly identified fossil predator is one of the largest marine reptiles ever found, scientists announced today. (Read full story.)
The 50-foot-long (15-meter-long) "sea monster" was excavated last summer on Norway's Arctic island of Spitsbergen (see map).
The Monster likely represents the biggest species of pliosaur known to science, said Jxrn Hurum, of the Natural History Museum in Oslo, Norway, who led the dig teamand who called the reptile "the T. rex of the ocean."
Pliosaurs were the top marine predators during the Jurassic period (200 to 145 million years ago), but their fossils are rarely found.
The Monster is portrayed here leaping after a pterosaur, but the creature's main prey was likely other large sea reptiles.