Monday, December 18, 2006

Bones Of Real-Life Loch Ness Monster ...

Bones Of Real-Life Loch Ness Monster Go On Display Wednesday

KWTX (December 13, 2006)--The bones of an ancient creature that would've looked like the Loch Ness Monster will be unveiled Wednesday in South Dakota.

The fossil is thought to be the best articulated fossil skeleton ever recovered from Antarctica.

At 5-feet in length the plesiosaur was deemed to be a juvenile, as an adult specimen could reach over 32 feet in length.

The skeleton is nearly perfectly articulated as it would have been in real life, but the skull has eroded away from the body.

Most of the bones of the baby plesiosaur had not developed distinct ends because of the youth of the specimen.

The creature would have inhabited Antarctic waters during a period when the Earth and oceans were far warmer than they are today.

The long-necked, diamond-finned plesiosaurs are probably most familiar as the legendary inhabitants of Scotland's Loch Ness, although scientific evidence indicates the marine carnivores have been extinct for millions of years.

But when the creatures were alive, their paddle-like fins would have allowed them to "fly through the water" in a motion very similar to modern-day penguins.

Researchers speculate volcanism similar to the massive eruption of Mt. St. Helens in Washington in 1980, may have caused the animal's death.

The skeleton goes on display Wednesday at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology's Museum of Geology.

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