So we haven’t found ol’ Nessie yet. Who cares? We have another gigantic, fearsome sea monster to look at in awe, and it’s called the pliosaur.
Paleontologists are calling it the “most fearsome predator that ever lived,” and it’s pretty clear why: a newly-discovered and assembled 2.4-meter pliosaur skull has been put on display (that’s almost eight feet, folks), with a long jaw that was once lined with sharp teeth and armed with some hefty biting power.
Estimates say that the pliosaur could have measured as long as 18 meters, nearly 60 feet, from the tip of its tail to the tip of that fearsome mouth. Paleontologist Richard Forrest describes it this way: “It could have taken a human in one gulp; in fact, something like a T-Rex would have been breakfast for a beast like this.”
A local collector in Dorset in the U.K. found the 155-million-year-old fossil by accident when he found pieces of the skull on a beach near his home. This discovery could mean a new species of pliosaur, or even a new genus, but only further investigation will tell.
This new pliosaur may or may not be the largest ocean predator ever, but one thing is certain: Jaws doesn’t have anything on this guy.