Published October 27, 2009
| London Times
Dinosaur experts in Dorset, England, are examining the fossilized skull of a sea monster so large they say it could have eaten a Tyrannosaurus rex for breakfast.
The fossil head is 8 feet long, suggesting that the beast measured up to 54 feet from the tip of its massive, crocodile-like snout to the end of its muscular tail, making it one of the largest specimens ever found.
The skull belongs to a pliosaur, one of a group of giant aquatic reptiles which roamed the warm seas over what is now southern Britain 150 million years ago.
It was spotted protruding from an unstable patch of cliff by Kevan Sheehan, a local fossil hunter, after being exposed by a rockfall. He spent four years going back day after day and painstakingly managed to uncover it.
Experts hope that the rest of the pliosaur's body may lie hidden in the cliff, equally well preserved. The exact spot, in the 95 mile stretch of coastline dubbed the Jurassic Coast, is being kept secret to deter amateur hunters.
"Pliosaur skulls are very big, but not that robust, in general, and you tend to find them crushed flat — completely pancaked," Richard Forrest, an expert on plesiosaurs told the BBC.
"What is fantastic about this new skull, not only is it absolutely enormous, but it is pretty much in 3D and not much distorted.
For more details on the pliosaur, visit The Times of London.