An international team of palaeontologists led by Dr Jorn Hurum uncovered the remains of two of the largest Jurassic marine reptiles on Earth in a remote locality in Svalbard, Norway. Given the evocative name of Predator X, the fragmentary pieces of jaw, forelimbs and scattered vertebrae indicated that this creature was a behemoth. The length of some groups of marine reptile can be extrapolated from the size of the various components of the skeleton: the ratio of size of skull to body length.
|The 147 million year old fragments of |
Predator X, now named Pliosaurus funkei
|A size comparison between a killer whale, |
a blue whale, Predator X and a human diver
During the Svalbard excavations, the team uncovered the remains of other sea-dwelling giants. They found both new species and a whole ecosystem.
The marine reptiles were one of the most successful groups of animals on the planet, dominating the seas for over 150 million years. The only reason why they became extinct was due to the asteroid which wiped out the dinosaurs. The seas were choked with ash and the delicate ecosystems which once thrived began to die from the bottom tiers up. Creatures like Predator X were driven into extinction. The last vestiges of that ancient empire now exist in the realm of the sharks and crocodiles. Fish once again dominate the ocean.