Sea Reptile is Now Largest on Record


Norwegian scientists have announced the largest marine reptile known to modern science, a fossil discovered in 2006 in Norway’s far-north Svalbard islands.

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Found on Spitspergen island, the “sea monster” was 50 ft (15m) from nose to tail, 20 percent larger than the Australian Kronosaurus, previously the biggest sea reptile on record. This new Norwegian find, nicknamed the “Monster,” is considered a pliosaur, the same as another similar fossil found nearby and the Kronosaurus. Pliosaurs were shorter-necked forms of the well-known plesiosaur grouping.

A large pliosaur would have likely been able to “pick up a small car in its jaws and bite it in half.”

According to expedition director Jorn Hurum of the University of Oslo Natural History Museum, the “biggest marine reptile” claim is backed by a study of the literature and “not just arm-waving.” The Monster’s flipper alone is 10 ft (3m) long! Plesiosaur expert Richard Forrest explained to BBC News that a large pliosaur would have likely been able to “pick up a small car in its jaws and bite it in half.”

In addition to the Monster and another pliosaur, numerous plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs have been found in Svalbard. Hurum commented on the origin of the fossil trove, such that BBC News interestingly (and inadvertently!) links this item with item #1 above:

The fossils were found in a fine-grained sedimentary rock called black shale. When the animals died, they sank to the bottom of a cold, shallow Jurassic sea and were covered over by mud. The oxygen-free, alkaline chemistry of the mud may explain the fossils’ remarkable preservation, said Dr. Hurum.

Creationist paleontologists are as fascinated with such ancient finds as anyone, especially because of the Bible’s references to “sea monsters” such as Leviathan. Leviathan is described in Isaiah 27:1 as a sea dragon, which certainly sounds like a description of a pliosaur or plesiosaur! And the “legends” of sea monsters from seafaring cultures around the world remind us that rather than being separated by millions of years, man cohabited with these monsters of the deep.

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