Plesiosaur bone discovered in English garden

This video is called Plesiosaur Tribute.

This article in the Daily Mail in Britain wrongly calls plesiosaus dinosaurs. They were not; though living in the age of dinosaurs:

You old fossil! Odd-shaped rock found in garden is dinosaur bone from 135m years ago

By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 2:35 AM on 27th February 2010

To John Ruggles it was just an odd-shaped rock.

After it turned up in his rockery he moved it around his garden as an ornament for nine years, before eventually settling on a place for it in the greenhouse.

But the rock nagged away at his curiosity until eventually he gave in and sent it to experts at his local museum to be identified.

Their reply left him staggered – his lump of stone turned out to be a dinosaur fossil from 135million years ago.

The startling discovery of part of a Plesiosaur‘s paddle bone from the Jurassic period was described as ‘very rare’ by experts, who also said it was in ‘stunning condition’.

It has been so well preserved that blood vessels are still visible in the sandstone-like rock, which measures 12in by 8in.

Mr Ruggles, 75, who lives with wife Eileen, 70, in a bungalow in Downham Market, Norfolk, said it was lucky he never threw it away.

‘When we moved in I thought it seemed different to any other rock I had seen but I didn’t know what it was so I just left it in the garden,’ he said.

‘But we were curious about it for a number of years and I thought, “I’m going to find out about it”. When my daughter read out the letter from the museum we just couldn’t believe it, and the age of it as well – you just can’t think of something being that old.

‘To think it was just sitting in the garden for all those years!’

Mr Ruggles, a retired British Gas meter reader, sent the rock to Lynn Museum in King’s Lynn in December. They passed it on to experts at the Sedgewick Museum of Earth Science in Cambridge for testing.

He returned from a holiday in Florida with his family to find the letter with the experts’ verdict. Mr Ruggles now plans to donate the fossil to Lynn Museum’s permanent collection.

But first the father-of-two says he will let granddaughter Emily Ruggles-Brown, seven, take the rock to school for a show-and-tell. …

When it goes into the museum people will be able to go and see the bone but not touch it,’ Mr Ruggles said.

‘But it’s the beauty and excitement of something so old that makes it really special. I have been handling it for nine years or more but other people haven’t had the chance – but I’d never sell it. It belongs in the museum.’

A spokesman for Lynn Museum said: ‘You can still see the blood vessels on the bone itself which is very rare. Usually it’s just bone that is preserved rather than fleshy parts.

‘It was a chance in a million that he found it in his garden and it’s a very nice specimen indeed – we will be extremely pleased to have it in the museum collection.’

Extinct mega-predators: Kronosaurus: here.

For one of the most impressive seagoing predators of all time, Kronosaurus queenslandicus did not receive a very auspicious introduction in the scientific literature. Today the creature’s name immediately conjures up the image of a massive marine reptile with a cavernous maw arrayed with big, conical teeth, but in 1924, when Kronosaurus received its formal name, the nature of this beast was only briefly outlined in a note by Queensland Museum director Heber Longman in a note given the thrilling title “Some Queensland Fossil Vertebrates”: here.

A hunter in northeast Montana has uncovered what paleontologists believe is the fossil of a plesiosaur, a carnivorous marine reptile that lived about 75 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period, officials said on Friday: here.

Think less sea monsters, more doting parents: the long-necked plesiosaurs that roamed the seas during the dinosaur era gave birth to live young. They probably cared for their offspring and may even have lived in large social groups, like modern-day whales: here.

Fossil ‘suggests plesiosaurs did not lay eggs’: here.

Polycotylus – The Good Mother Plesiosaur? Here.

Reassessment of the Lower Cretaceous (Barremian) pliosauroid Leptocleidus superstes Andrews, 1922 and other plesiosaur remains from the nonmarine Wealden succession of southern England: here.

Dorset pliosaur: ‘Most fearsome predator’ unveiled: here.


19 thoughts on “Plesiosaur bone discovered in English garden


    Outback town a treasure trove of dino-fossils

    Published: 10:16PM Monday May 24, 2010

    Source: AAP

    Richmond may be 500km inland from Townsville, but the sea has much to do with its ancient history – the vast inland sea that for long periods between 97.5 and 120 million years ago covered much of central and northwestern Queensland.

    Today, the countryside surrounding Richmond (population about 800) abounds in what have been called some of the world’s finest fossils of marine creatures, large and small, from the Cretaceous period.

    On the Flinders River and 216m above sea level, Richmond is also a leg of the triangular Australian Dinosaur Trail, linking it with Hughenden to the east and Winton to the south.

    The Trail’s Richmond link is in a downtown building called Kronosaurus Korner, developed by local identity Rob Ievers (Ievers) after he suggested to Richmond Shire Council that it buy a former cinema on the main street and turn it into a fossil museum.

    It cost $60,000, and Richmond’s future main tourist attraction was on the way, boosted later by a $1 million injection from the Queensland Heritage Trails Network.

    A statue of a huge snarling kronosaurus stands outside the building, seemingly daring visitors to enter; fossils from marine and land animals are displayed inside.

    A kronosaurus was a large pliosaur, a marine reptile measuring 10m to 12m long with a skull of up to 3.5m; it propelled itself through the water by four powerful flippers.

    The most remarkable exhibit at the Korner is the 4.25m-long Richmond Pliosaur discovered by Rob Levers and his brother Ian in 1989.

    They noticed what appeared to be a fossilised bone poking out from a creek bank on their 22,622-hectare family cattle and sheep property between Richmond and Hughenden, named Marathon Station.

    On closer inspection, it was the end of a snout – with teeth in it.

    On digging 1.5m into the bank, they later unearthed a head and vertebrae.

    A team from the Queensland Museum led by paleontologist Dr Mary Wade arrived to help retrieve the rest of the skeleton, estimated at around 100 million years old.

    “In the end we got 98 per cent of the skeleton,” recalls Levers, a local councillor and deputy mayor. “It lay there on its back just like it had died yesterday.”

    The Richmond Pliosaur has been described as Australia’s premier vertebrate fossil and also one of the world’s best fossilised skeletons of its type.

    Marathon Station was again in the headlines three months later when Ian Ievers spotted a rock-like object on the property that turned out to be an ankle bone from a 5m-long armoured dinosaur called an ankylosaur, again dating back around 100 million years.

    Known as Minmi, it was 80 per cent complete – the highest percentage for any dinosaur skeleton to have been discovered in Australia.

    Nearly 60 years earlier, the world paleontology spotlight had fallen on Richmond when a team from Harvard University in the United States uncovered what became known as the Kronosaurus Queenslandicus at Army Downs, north of the town.

    Four tonnes of limestone rocks containing the skeleton were shipped back to Harvard where according to reports, a funds shortage, the Great Depression and World War II meant it was 20 years before all the fossilised bones were finally removed from their rocky bed, reassembled and finally mounted in Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology.

    Kronosaurus Korner contains more than 500 fossils of various kinds, and a laboratory where they are prepared for exhibition by a paleontologist and volunteers using dental drills, pneumatic hammers and chemical processes.

    Parts of fossilised sea creatures found include vertebrae of large reptiles such as ichthyosaurs, bivalve clams, small squid named belemnites, turtle bones and sharks’ teeth.

    Richmond’s role as Australia’s Fossil Capital is celebrated every second autumn by the Richmond Fossil Festival, sponsored this year by BHP Billiton Cannington.

    While Kronosaurus Korner is the centrepiece, the festival offers other activities including fossicking for relics at four specific sites (maps provided), a rodeo, camel racing, moonrock throwing, tours of the town and nearby bushland, plus visits to Queensland’s only sandalwood factory and fishing in the Flinders River.

    Fossickers are allowed to take home their finds unless they are deemed “significant”, in which case they may be added to the Korner’s collection.

    Moonrocks are the local name for rounded limestone boulders found in the area, and the competition is something like a cross between shot-putting and discus throwing.

    The men throw moonrocks weighing 26kg, while the women’s missiles are 17kg.

    In Lions Park on Goldring Street, Richmond’s main thoroughfare, is a stack of seven moonrocks of ever-decreasing size, a monument opened by then Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen in 1976 to mark the bitumen sealing of the Flinders Highway from Townsville.

    If you go:

    Kronosaurus Korner is open daily (between 8am and 4pm from June 1, 2010) except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Good Friday – also, sensibly, at reduced hours on Melbourne Cup day.

    There’s a cafe and souvenir shop, and the building doubles as Richmond’s Visitor Information Centre.

    Admission charges are $10 for adults, concession $8 and children $6.

    Details: visit or or call 1300-576-665.

    For visitor accommodation, Richmond has two hotels, two motels and a caravan park.


  2. Plesiosaurs carried young like a mammal, study finds

    The fossil of a pregnant plesiosaur indicates that the ancient marine reptile grew a fetus and did not lay eggs.

    By Daniela Hernandez, Los Angeles Times

    August 11, 2011, 4:13 p.m.

    Plesiosaurs — giant marine reptiles that ruled the oceans 75 million years ago — gave birth to single large babies and may even have nurtured their young, according to a new study.

    F. Robin O’Keefe, a paleontologist at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., and Luis Chiappe, director of the Dinosaur Institute at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, teamed up to study the only known fossil of a plesiosaur mother and her unborn baby. The ancient relic is considered the first evidence that these aquatic behemoths gave birth in the water instead of laying eggs on land, the researchers reported online Thursday in the journal Science.

    “It’s a really neat specimen,” said Mike Everhart, adjunct curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History in Hays, Kan., who was not involved in the study.

    The fossil was discovered by amateur paleontologists Marion and Charles Bonner while hiking in northwest Kansas in 1987. They noticed flat bones sticking out of the shale; these turned out to be the mother plesiosaur’s pelvis. They continued digging and found the creature’s four flippers, ribs, hips, spinal column and part of its neck.

    The Bonners had found many fossils before, but “I had an inkling that this was different,” Charles Bonner said. He and his father wanted scientists to study it carefully, so they sent the specimen to the Natural History Museum, where it sat in storage until recently.

    In 2008, O’Keefe and Chiappe decided to take a closer look before showcasing it as part of the Los Angeles museum’s new Dinosaur Hall.

    The scientists noticed a constellation of small bones spilling over from the larger fossil’s abdomen that appeared to be miniature versions of the adult ones. The similarities suggested that both sets of remains were from the same species.

    A flat seashell-shaped bone — part of the fetus’ pelvis — rests on the inside face of the mother’s shoulder bone, indicating that the baby was growing inside its mother when she died.

    The edges of the miniature bones don’t appear rounded or corroded, which would be characteristic signs of damage caused by stomach acid, suggesting the small fossil hadn’t been the larger one’s last meal.

    The most likely interpretation, the scientists concluded, was that the fossil was that of a pregnant plesiosaur with one large baby growing within it.

    Based on the size of its bones, O’Keefe and Chiappe concluded that the infant wasn’t fully developed. At birth it would have been about 5 feet long, about one-third the length of its 151/2-foot mother.

    The baby’s size suggests that plesiosaurs invested a lot of energy in bearing young and didn’t have many offspring at once, unlike turtles and mice. Other species that birth single large babies — such as humans, whales, dolphins and certain Australian lizards — form social groups to help protect their young against predators.

    “So we made the leap that plesiosaurs were very social, although we have no direct evidence,” Chiappe said.

    But Everhart said that might be too big a leap for now. “It’s a little premature to conclude that plesiosaurs only gave birth to one baby at a time because there’s only one fossil” of a pregnant plesiosaur, he said.

    Almost 25 years after the Bonners dug it up, the fossil is on display in the museum’s Dinosaur Hall, which opened to the public July 16. The plesiosaur’s head and neck, which the Bonners never found, have been reconstructed so that visitors can have a better picture of what the reptile looked like.

    Marion Bonner died in 1992. Another one of his discoveries, considered the most complete fossil ever found of an extinct marine lizard called a mosasaur, is displayed next to the pregnant plesiosaur.

    “Dad would have liked to see it,” Charles Bonner said.

    Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times


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