elasmosaurs

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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

Happy 29th birthday to me

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. :)

Summer of Retrosaurs: The Land Unknown

Name: The Land Unknown

Production Company: Universal Studios

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.

Review: 3 and half out of 5 footprints.

Purchase Link: If you desire to purchase it. It’s easy to find online though,like simple google search.

Daily Monster 212: Mamlambo

Region of origin: Southern Africa

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.