South Dublin City, 6.30am, Thursday the 10th of August – I clamber into the passenger seat of a 4X4 – destination London. My travelling companions are Colin in the drivers seat, and two suspiciously large boxes- a monster lurks inside – the skull of the Dublin plesiosaur. The plan is to transport the fossil plesiosaur known as Rhomaleosaurus cramptoni to the Palaeontological Conservation Unit of the Natural History Museum, London, where the skull (and eventually the rest of the skeleton) will receive preparation treatment. The impetus behind this project is twofold, firstly the specimen represents the holotype of the species, genus and family (Rhomaleosauridae) and so the resulting vital information will be incorporated into my Ph.D project studying the systematics of plesiosaurs. Secondly, the impressive specimen will form the future centrepiece in a museum exhibit in Dublin. In the days preceding our trip, all parts of the skull were labelled and safely boxed up in two well-padded and specially constructed crates, and packed into transport. After a very short drive to Dublin Port, and a ferry across the Irish sea to Holyhead, we continued to London and arrived at the gates of the Natural History Museum by 4.00pm, nine and a half hours after our departure. The specimen is under preparation as I write this…
Find out more about this specimen in my popular article, download the PDF here – Dublin’s Jurassic Sea Dragon
Packing and Transporting the Dublin Plesiosaur. Above – All of the parts of the skull ofRhomaleosaurus cramptoni were labelled to ease reconstruction upon arrival in London.
Above – The skull was packed into two specially constructed boxes, the front part of the skull and all the loose pieces were packed into the largest box, the smaller box contains the rear of the skull (photo by Matthew Parkes).
Above – Upon its arrival in London. staff of the Palaeontological Conservation Unit in London transport the skull to the laborotory.