Elasmosaurid skeleton excavated in Alberta

A giant plesiosaur has been discovered and excavated from the Late Cretaceous Bearpaw Shale of Drumheller, southern Alberta, Canada. According to the press release the fossil remains were found in an ammolite mine by staff from Korite International (‘Ammolite’ is a gemstone, not to be confused with the prehistoric cephalopod ‘ammonite’).

Alberta plesiosaur
The team from the Royal Tyrell Museum excavating the specimen -the fossil is covered in a layer of white supporting burlap soaked in plaster, to encase and protect it on its journey to the museum. Image: 'Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology/Alberta Tourism, Parks, Recreation and Culture' (used with permission).

After spotting a neck vertebra, work in the mine was halted to investigate the find. The Royal Tyrell Museum mounted an expedition led by Dr Don Henderson, to recover the plesiosaur, which has since been identified as an elasmosaurid and possibly represents the largest marine reptile ever unearthed in Alberta. 9000 tonnes of rock, still containing the bones, were excavated during the three-week dig, but the exact contents will only be revealed from careful preparation of the specimen, over the next couple of years.

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