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Viewings: 3567Paleontologists love superlatives, otherwise the audience will not entice. From here, "the biggest", "the oldest", "the strongest and the most strange fossils.
Sometimes, alas, thirst sensation ahead of science.
"Predator X ' hunts on the plesiosaurus. Despite the abundance of such reconstructions, we know little about the way of life of pliosaurs. (Image Atlantic Productions.)
In 2009 took place the coming of the "Predator X" is a huge sea reptiles, the bite of which, allegedly, was four times stronger than that of Tyrannosaurus rex (unchanging standard for the whole prehistoric). Leviathan only came out of the earth, scientists have not yet had time to publish a description of the monster, but it has already been discussed in all the news and made a documentary (as well as art is not about him, but motives). And everyone knew that this pliosaur most dangerous predator in the history of the planet.
And only three years after media eruption "Predator X" finally had a name. In the edition of the Norwegian Journal of Geology paleontologists Espen Knutsen, Patrick Druckenmiller and Jorn hurum called him Pliosaurus funkei. But is this really the devourer ichthyosaurus Jurassic period as terrifying as it daubed?
In the years 2004-2012 employees of the University of Oslo (Norway) found on the island of Spitsbergen in the Arctic, the two largest pliosaurs - marine reptiles with short necks, giant wombs and four fins. The only material related to previously caught scientists pliosaurs, was a fragment of the caudal vertebrae, so the discovery of two instances became a sensation. "Predator X" (Predator X) drew up all the attention, and the second sample, called simply "the Beast " (The Monster), it remained only to bask in the rays of someone else's glory. However, they both belong mind Pliosaurus funkei and both allow only partially reconstruct these animals.
The surrounding area of Spitsbergen regularly freeze and thaw, so skeletons highly fragmented. Some fossils in the laboratory has dried up and spoiled even stronger. Instance, which was established species (PMO 214.135), consists of fragments of jaw, the handful of vertebrae and parts right front leg. Second, the larger the sample (PMO 214.136) is the back bone of the skull, several vertebrae and a number of unidentified fragments.
The result is to judge the size of the animals is very difficult. Their size is estimated only approximately, based on other pliosaurs. At first, it was argued that "Predator X" and "Monster" had about 15 m in length, that really made them the largest pliosaurs. At the time of publication of scientific articles specialists were more modest. Skull PMO 214.136, they write, there was a 1.8-2.5 m in length. No doubt, this is a large skull, but it is comparable with the skull of kronosaur - pliosaur found in the rocks of Cretaceous Australia and Colombia. The skull of another Pliosaurus funkei slightly less than 1,5-2 meters
Body length is another question. Many varieties of pliosaurs know only a meager remains, therefore, paleontologists remain estimations on the basis of the bones, the size of which can probably be multiplied by a factor, and thereby to obtain the length of the body. By measuring what is left of your spine, Mr. Knutson and his colleagues came to the conclusion that Pliosaurus funkei reached approximately 10-13 m
In the absence of complete skeleton it is difficult to judge to what end of this range was located a new species. But even in the long case "Predator X" and "the Beast" have not been Champions. Now they describe as some of the largest.
No doubt, it was awesome predator, which was at the top of the food chain, but about the power bite the authors not even stutter: skull to be incomplete. Moreover, the researchers urge to continue with caution approach to the description of such instances.
Prepared according to Wired.
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