The remains of a massive pliosaur excavated on the Arctic island of Spitsbergen include sections of dinner-plate-size vertebrae and an almost complete forelimb "paddle."
"Although we didn't get the entire skeleton, we found many of the most important parts," said team member Patrick Druckenmiller. "Amazingly, the paddle alone is nearly ten feet [three meters] long."
The ocean predator likely used its giant flippers to launch sudden, ferocious attacks on other marine reptiles, according to fossil expert Richard Forrest.
"We don't think they were particularly good at cruising but were very good at accelerating, so they'd lurk in the depths and shoot up to catch things," he said on February 26, 2008, the day before these images were released.