Monday, May 23, 2005

New Plesiosaur From Australia

From The
Australian scientists believe they have discovered a new species of long-necked dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous in a rich fossil deposit in western Queensland. Palaeontologist Dr Ben Kear said the fossil bed in the arid grasslands near Boulia had yielded the remains of several prehistoric creatures, including what was thought to be a new species of long-necked plesiosaur.

"The plesiosaur is especially exciting because it has an unusual arrangement of teeth. In fact, it is weird enough for us to question its origins," Dr Kear said. "Long-necked plesiosaurs typically have teeth that stretch the whole length of the jaw, but the new specimen we have uncovered has all its teeth bunched at the front of the mouth."

But it would be 12 months before the fossil could be prepared with acid to determine if the animal was a known species or something new, he said. As well as the plesiosaur, scientists from the South Australian Museum and the University of Adelaide had found the remains of ancient turtles, several ichthyosaurs, sharks and fragments of a terrestrial dinosaur, known as an ankylosaur.
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