Monsters of the past

A quick entry: Today, the University of Oslo announced the discovery of 28 excellently preserved Jurassic marine reptile fossils, consisting of a staggering 21 plesiosaurs (long-necked), 6 ichthyosaurs (look like evil dolphins) and one pliosaur (short-necked). The latter stretched to a glorious 8m (26 ft), and was dubbed “The Monster”. The fossils were found at Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard chain. Which I’m sure we’re all familiar with.

It’s an unprecedented discovery – palaeontologist Dr Dave Martill of Portsmouth University rightly called it a “bonanza” of fossils.

Why do I bother bringing it up here? Well, if you’ve been reading this blog, you might be aware of my fascination with all things marine. Especially all things marine that have big teeth and eat smaller things marine. There’s a certain awe that comes from thinking about massive predators lurking in the dark, prehistoric oceans. Ah, the call of the dangerous, unknown abyss… But I think Tor Sponga’s drawings that I have included capture my thousand words better (although I don’t know why he made the ichthyosaurs look so happy).

You can also read about all this here.

Two happy ichthyosaurs munching on a dead plesiosaur (copyright Tor Sponga, BT)

Here is the sea, great and wide,
which teems with creatures innumerable,
living things both small and great.
There go the ships, and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it.
These all look to you, to give them their food in due season.
Psalm 104:25-27

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