A newly excavated pliosaur from the Arctic island of Spitsbergen is illustrated in the company of a blue whale, a killer whale, and a human.
The prehistoric "sea monster" is one of the largest marine reptiles known to science. Its head alone measures some ten feet (three meters) long, the Norwegian-led team that found the fossil skeleton announced on February 27, 2008.
While blue whales are considered the planet's biggest ever animals, pliosaurs probably had the biggest bite, according to sea-reptile fossil expert Richard Forrest.
"Inside their enormous skulls they had huge areas of muscle available for biting force," said Forrest, who is affiliated with the New Walk Museum in Leicester, England.
"One of these animals would have been big and strong enough to pick up a small car and bite it in half."