From British daily The Guardian:
Ferocious prehistoric predator’s skull is 2.4 metres and could belong to creature measuring up to 16 metres in length
* Haroon Siddique and agencies
* Tuesday 27 October 2009 11.29 GMT
The fossilised skull of a “sea monster”, which may be the largest of its type ever found, has been unearthed on the Dorset coast.
The skull from the ferocious prehistoric predator the pliosaur is 2.4 metres long and could belong to a creature measuring up to 16 metres in length from tip to tail and weighing up to 12 tonnes.
They had short necks and huge, crocodile-like heads that contained immensely powerful jaws and a set of huge, razor-sharp teeth.
Richard Forrest, a plesiosaur expert, said the discovery was fortunate because pliosaur skulls were generally found crushed flat.
“What is fantastic about this new skull, not only is it absolutely enormous, but it is pretty much in 3D and not much distorted,” he said. “You have this wonderful lower jaw – and you can just see from the depth and the thickness that this was immensely strong.
“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.”
The fossil was found by a local collector on the Jurassic Coast, a 95 mile stretch of coastline covering Dorset and East Devon that spans 185m years of geological history. Dorset county council purchased it for £20,000 with money from the heritage lottery fund, and it will now be scientifically analysed, prepared and then put on public display at Dorset County Museum. …
Experts believe it could rival recent finds made in Svalbard, an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, where beasts dubbed “the Monster” and “Predator X” were thought to have measured 15m, and in Mexico, where the “Monster of Aramberri” was discovered in 2002, and is believed to have been of similar dimensions.
“We only have the head, so you cannot be absolutely precise,” said Martill.
“But it may be vying with the ones found in Svalbard and Mexico for the title of the world’s largest.” …
Richard Edmonds, the council’s earth science manager for the Jurassic Coast, said the rest of the creature may still be entombed in the rock but it could take decades for it to emerge.
“The ground is dipping very steeply, and as it is such a huge specimen it will be buried beneath layer upon layer of rock, so we will have to patiently wait for the next big landslide,” he said.
See also here.
Dorset pliosaur: ‘Most fearsome predator’ unveiled: here.