New ancient sea reptile found in Germany – The earliest of its kind
A previously unrecognized 132 million-year-old fossilized sea monster from northern Germany has been identified by an international team of researchers. Findings published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
The bizarre sea creature was a plesiosaur, an extinct long-necked aquatic reptile resembling the popular image of the Loch Ness monster, which dominated the seas during the Age of Dinosaurs.
The remains of the eight-meter-long skeleton were collected in 1964 by private fossil collectors. The perfectly preserved bones were rescued from heavy machinery excavating a clay-pit at Sarstedt near Hannover.
Despite being discovered nearly half a century ago, a group of international scientists was only recently invited to study the specimen by the Lower Saxony State Museum in Hannover.
“It was an honor to be asked to research the mysterious Sarstedt plesiosaur skeleton” says Sven Sachs from the Natural History Museum in Bielefeld, Germany, and lead author on the study. “It has been one of the hidden jewels of the museum, and even more importantly, has turned out to be new to science”.
The new plesiosaur was christened Lagenanectes richterae, literally meaning ‘Lagena swimmer’, after the medieval German name for the Leine River near Sarstedt. The species was named for Dr Annette Richter, Chief Curator of Natural Sciences at the Lower Saxony State Museum, who facilitated documentation of the fossil.
The skeleton of Lagenanectes includes most of the skull, which had a meshwork of long fang-like teeth, together with vertebrae, ribs and bones from the four flipper-like limbs.
“The jaws had some especially unusual features.” says Dr Jahn Hornung a palaeontologist based in Hamburg and co-author on the paper. “Its broad chin was expanded into a massive jutting crest, and its lower teeth stuck out sideways. These probably served to trap small fish and squid that were then swallowed whole”.
Internal channels in the upper jaws might have housed nerves linked to pressure receptors or electroreceptors on the outside of the snout that would have helped Lagenanectes to locate its prey.
The bones also showed evidence of chronic bacterial infection suggesting that the animal had suffered from a long-term disease that perhaps eventually claimed its life.
“The most important aspect of this new plesiosaur is that it is amongst the oldest of its kind” says Dr Benjamin Kear from the Museum of Evolution at Uppsala University in Sweden and senior author on the study. “It is one of the earliest elasmosaurs, an extremely successful group of globally distributed plesiosaurs that seem to have had their evolutionary origins in the seas that once inundated Western Europe”.
Elasmosaurs had spectacularly long necks - the longest of any vertebrate - including up to 75 individual vertebrae. Not all of the neck vertebrae of Lagenanectes were recovered but it is estimated that around 40 or 50 must have originally been present.
TOP IMAGE….A previously unrecognized 132 million-year-old fossilized sea monster from northern Germany has been identified by an international team of researchers. Findings published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Credit Joschua Knuppe
CENTRE IMAGE….A previously unrecognized 132 million-year-old fossilized sea monster from northern Germany has been identified by an international team of researchers. Findings published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Credit Joschua Knuppe
LOWER IMAGE….A previously unrecognized 132 million-year-old fossilized sea monster from northern Germany has been identified by an international team of researchers. Findings published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Credit Benjamin Kear
Its now officially my birthday. I’m almost 30 now. Feeling kind of old. :P
My parents are really busy this weekend so I probably won’t be able to do much today. My mom might bake me a fruit flan, and take me out for a burger for supper. This sounds kind of boring, but its not fast food, its from an organic local farm’s restaurant and its really good.
Later this week I might see a movie with my parents. Probably Spider Man or the new Planet of the Apes movie, and I might go look for fossils (in Courtenay nearby is famous for its aquatic fossils which include mega reptiles like mosasaur and elasmosaurs).
But I have to admit I’m also feeling quite lonely. I don’t really have any close friends anymore so I will be spending my birthday just with my parents. A lot of this is related to both of my social anxiety and shyness. Its really hard for me to make friends, or even retain the friends I make. Both of my siblings live away from here so they won’t be able to come to my birthday either. I’m also really not happy about my accomplishments at this age. But I’ll try to be optimistic and not blame myself too much.
If you want to wish me a happy birthday, I’d appreciate it. It might make me feel a bit less alone on my birthday. :)
Notable Cast/Crew: Virgil W. Vogel, Director, Jock Mahoney (Hal
Roberts), Shirley Patterson ( Maggie Hathway), Henry Brandon (Dr. Hunter)
Retrosaurs in Film: Tyrannosaurus Rex (True Tyrant), Elasmosaurus
(Long Necked Sea Tyrant), Stegasaurus (Primitive Carnivorous Retrosaur), and
unidentified pterodactyl (Flying Retrosaur)
Summary: With Antarctica’s expansive bounties, the United
States Government sends a team to a warm lake in the heart of Antarcitca. They
arrive to the lake in time to find a storm coming, and are forced down into an
unknown area thousands of feet below sea level after something damages the
rotors. Forced to stay the night in the incredibly warm place, they awaken to
find themselves stranded in a valley that time had forgotten. Trapped in the
geologic era of the Mesozoic, they are forced to fend off beasts of
unimaginable terror from an era before man. But when their food is raided, and
the girl is carried off with a set of human tracks, they figure out that they
are not the only humans in this forsake place. It then becomes a race against
time and beasts to escape the Land Unknown.
Thoughts: I was honestly surprised about this movie. From
the reviews and everything that I had seen, I was expecting it to be terrible.
And it went out of left field and made me enjoy it thoroughly. Sure, it’s a
heavy stereotyped based movie, but it plays them off really well. The
characters are all enjoyable, if a little more underdeveloped than I like, but
none of them really come across as annoying. The portrayls of desperation,
madness, and the drive to get out of the prehistoric hell hole were actually
rather well done considering the incredibly low budget they had for the movie. My
personal favorite was Henry Brandon’s performance of a man lost to a world that
only wanted to kill him. It was nice to see the secondary plot of his
redemption from a man just above monsters to one of sympathy and worth
redemption rather than damnation by Elasmosaurus.
And with the low budget limit, it’s not too terrible. Apparently,
the animatronic cost so much that they had to film the movie in black and white
because of the cost alone, which makes it all that more fascinating that
visually it works really well. The set work and the miniatures were
surprisingly well crafted and created a wonderful backdrop that gave it a truly
primeval feel, and the full daylight gave that feeling that you were never
really safe no matter what you did. The animatronic Elasmosaurus was actually
the most iconic monster of the set, with the fanged maw with oddly pronounced canines
creating an interesting profile. The “Stegosaurus” were the next, with the live
action fight being one of the tensest moments, even the scenes without the
fighting were oddly terrifying and tense. The Rex was decent, and the origin of
the iconic stock roar was great, but the kicker for me was the arms. I was torn
out at times because of the tiny limp little arms, but overall I rather enjoyed
the appearances. The pterosaurs were kinda a letdown, quick glimpses here and there,
but overall there was plenty of prehistoric beasts.
Though, this may seem strange, but everywhere I saw reminded
me of Kong. From the Rex being the secondary baddie to the Elasmosaur, to the scenario,
everything about this film just screamed Kong Skull Island all over it. I’d
love to see a remake with a more diverse cast, go and have in the MonsterVerse
the isolated island in the world of man where time continues on as it had in
the ages. Even if it wasn’t Universal Studios who produced it, I’d still love
to see a remake of this movie that treats it well. I’d say it’s worth it just
to see the similairites to Kong: Skull Island
Good Points: The acting, killer plant, the entire loris
scene for cute moment, the Elasmosaurus
Bad Points: Super positioning, the budget, those tiny arms
that will haunt me in my nightmares.
Associated with a Zulu river deity of the same name, the Mamlambo is a cryptid whose various descriptions broadly add up to a elasmosaur-like animal, as well as being said to possess a faint green glow and a penchant for sucking out the brains of its victims. A rash of drowning deaths in 1997 were popularly attributed to being the work of Mamlambo.
“BATTLE BETWEEN ICHTHYOSAURS AND ELASMOSAURS.The icthyosaurus which was similar to a dolphin in appearance, was one of the most feared marine reptiles; it had undoubtedly adopted the most favourable shape for moving in the water. The icthyosaurs, which were about 8 meters long and the owners of 200 very sharp teeth, could attack even the elasmosaurs successfully.”