Full Skeleton Of 50-Ton
Ocean Monster Discovered


LONDON (ANI) -- Bones measuring 65 feet from nose to tail, teeth packed into 10 ft jaws powerful enough to bite through granite and a total physical weight of 50 tons - these are the characteristics of Liopleurodon ferox, a fearsome carnivore that terrorised the seas 150 million years ago.
The complete skeleton of the largest predator of all times have been found by German and Mexican palaeontologists although its existence was known in 19th century through partial fossils, according to a report in Times Online. The details of the October discovery have been published in the German magazine Der Spiegel. The marine behemoth was also featured in the BBC series Walking With Dinosaurs.
Far larger than Tyrannosaurus rex, the skeleton of this "Monster of Aramberri," nicknamed after the place in Mexico where it was located, is likely to throw light on the beast's last meal and the cause of its death. It used to hunt the ancestors of the modern shark and aquatic reptiles such as ichthyosaurs.
The skull, as large as a car, was found to have a huge hole in it, possibly made by a victim that fought back. The bones were discovered mingled with those of smaller ichthyosaurs, which the Liopleurodon had probably eaten, together with huge chunks of rock which it would have swallowed along with its prey as an aid to digestion or as ballast.
Leader of the research team Eberhard Frey, of the Natural History Museum in Karlsruhe, where the bones are to be shipped for reconstruction, said the spcimen would help them to build the most accurate model yet of the creature. "A sensational find," says he, adding that "no other living creature in the sea could fight it successfully. They swallowed the prey whole."
Liopleurodon ferox, first identified by the French palaeontologist H.E. Sauvage in 1873, belongs to an order of prehistoric marine reptiles known as the plesiosaurs, cousins of the dinosaurs that thrived in the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, between 208 and 65 million years ago.
The creatures, whose collective name means "near lizards", were carnivores with four powerful flippers. Liopleurodon, which means "smooth-sided tooth", is one of a sub-group called the pliosauroids, which had large heads, strong jaws, short necks, and resembled whales.
Estimates prepared by the BBC series suggest that the largest of the creatures would have been even bigger than the "Monster of Aramberri," at up to 80 feet long and 150 tons, although most palaeontologists are more conservative, particularly about its weight.
Liopleurodon's teeth measured up to 10in each and were so sharp that several members of Frey's team suffered cuts while it was painstakingly dug from the soil. (ANI)
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