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Ancient Reptile Discovered in Alaska

Image: Via Flickr/artvintage1800s.etsy.com Image: Via Flickr/artvintage1800s.etsy.com
Image: Via Flickr/artvintage1800s.etsy.com Image: Via Flickr/artvintage1800s.etsy.com

Fossils of an ancient reptile with a long neck, small head and paddle like limbs were discovered on the side of a vertical cliff in Alaska. It is a type of plesiosaur called Elasmosaur, an animal that swam during the Late Cretaceous period. This was the first time any fossil related to this particular creature was discovered.

“This is a very unusual group of marine reptiles that belongs to a larger group known as plesiosaurs,” Patrick Druckenmiller told Live Science. “Elasmosaurs are famous because they have these ridiculously long necks and relatively small skulls.”

Most of the bones that were uncovered are still lodged in a cliff in the Talkeetna Mountains which are located in southern Alaska. Druckenmiller, who visited the site in June, estimates the creature was about 25 feet long.

“We got a good chunk of the animal,” he says, “but there is still more to excavate.”

They hope to recover the rest of the skeleton next summer.

The tectonic activity, over the course of many millions of years under that ancient sea, caused the seafloor to rise up thousands of feet. Previously, two other ancient marine animals were also discovered in the rocky hillside of Alaska: dolphin-shaped ichthyosaurs and “ocean lizards” called thalattosaurs.

Image: Via Flickr/artvintage1800s.etsy.com


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