Albertonectes

Genus

Albertonectes

Author

Kubo, Mitchell, and Henderson, 2012

Classification

Sauropterygia
Eosauropterygia
Eusauropterygia
Pistosauroidea
Pistosauria
Plesiosauria
Plesiosauroidea
Elasmosauridae

Age

Mid-late Campanian, Late Cretaceous

Location

Near Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

Type species

A. vanderveldei

Other species

None

Referred material

None

The holotype specimen (TMP 2007.0110001) consists of an almost complete skeleton lacking a skull. The neck contains 76 cervical vertebrae. This is a unique character of Albertonectes vanderveldei and the highest number of neck vertebrae known for any plesiosaur, surpassing the previous record-holder (Elasmosaurus) by four vertebrae.

The distal-most caudal vertebrae (27th to 33rd) of Albertonectes are fused into a pygostyle-like structure.

In popular culture, an Albertonectes plesiosaur called Poppy is the main character in the children’s picture book, The Plesiosaur’s Neck. The book explores the many different explanations for the plesiosaur’s extremely long neck. I’ve written a few articles about it on the Plesiosaur Bites blog.