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"Richmond Pliosaur"
Yet to be formally named

New pliosaur
Click image for enlargement


CLASSIFICATIONPolycotylidae, Pliosauroidea, Plesiosauria
AGEEarly Cretaceous (Albian) 100 MYA
LOCATIONQueensland, Australia
SIZE5 metres (16 feet) long

This small pliosaur is known from a near-complete articulated skeleton found near Richmond, Queensland, in 1990. It was discovered on the same property (Marathon Station) as Minmi paravertebra, by the brothers Robert and Ian Ievers. One paddle is incomplete distally (towards the end), there is some weathering damage along the underside of the mandibles (lower jaws),and the region of one quadrate (towards the back of the skull) has collapsed, but otherwise the specimen is remarkably complete. It may well turn out to be the most complete pliosaur skeleton ever found - certainly it is the most complete fossil vertebrate yet found in Australia.

It may be related to the polycotylid pliosaurs. These remains are currently being studied by Dr Ralph Molnar and Dr Mary Wade.

My reconstruction is based on a photograph of the articulated skeleton. The pose is the same as that in which the creature died. The photograph below is of the fossil display at the Richmond Marine Fossil Museum in Queensland.

Pliosaur display

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