Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Science News - Remains of New Prehistoric Reptile Species Found




Scientists in Norway have unearthed the remains of a prehistoric sea reptile previously unidentified by researchers.
University of Oslo researchers found new teeth, skull fragments, and vertebrae on the Svalbard islands, which have yielded dozens of sea reptile skeletons of the pliosaurus (pictured right). The new remains, however, appear to belong to a new species of prehistoric reptile.
Or not. The AP story filed out of Oslo is unclear. Behold self-contradiction:
"It seems the monster is a new species," (Joern Harald Hurum of the University of Oslo) told The Associated Press.
The reptile appears be the same species as another sea predator whose remains were found nearby on Svalbard last year.
If you can parse what the AP meant, you are a better grammarian than I. Is the monster a new species or is it the same species? Or is it that all the Svalbard fossils, which made waves last year, were not pliosaurus after all?
We'll be checking into this story and providing updates as the day goes on.
What we do know is that increased research in more pristine environments, like the Arctic, have yielded remarkable new fossil discoveries, especially in sea reptile (aka plesiosaur) research. As Mark Evans, a plesiosaur expert at the Leicester City Museums in Britain, told the AP, "In the past 10 or 15 years, there has been what we call a renaissance in plesiosaur research."

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