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Megalneusaurus rex (fwd)



Gary Kerr kindly passed on the info that Bakker presented on
_Megalneusaurus rex_ at Dinofest. At last, this beast might get some
attention! For those of you that missed it, this is what Colin McHenry
had to say on the animal earlier this year (Jan 17th). If you've read it
before, apologies for cluttering. And Colin, if you're out there, I'm
floundering!

> Once upon a time, when most of North America was under water (those were the
> days!), there lived a monstrously large beast by the name of _Megalneusaurus
> rex_.  It was a giant pliosaur, a member of the tribe that for millenia used
> to plunder the largest predators that the dinosaurs could come up with from
> the beaches and rivers, spiting their puny bones and teeth out as they wiped
> out herds of megafauna....
>
> ..Trouble is, no-one seems to know much about it.  It first got a mention
> in 1895, when W. Knight (one of Sam Williston's colleagues?) wrote a very
> brief letter to the (then) brand new journal Science, saying that it was
> from the Upper Jurassic of Wyoming.  The implication is that there was quite
> a bit of material.  Initially  he called it _Cimoliasaurus rex_, but it is
> mentioned in Longman's 1930 discussion of _Kronosaurus_ (where he compares K
> with other large pliosaurs) as _Megalneusaurus_. Longman refers to a
> (presumably more informative) 1895 article by Knight in J American Science,
> but unfortunately none of the libraries over here have this issue (I have
> also seen this paper refered to as 1898, so the date is not very reliable).
> It then gets a mention in Romer's Osteology of the Reptiles as _incertae
> sedis_ - and that, as far as I can tell, is it.  I find this amazing, for
> the following reason; in the 1895 Science letter Knight describes
> a femur which is 1200 mm long.  For comparison, the only complete femur that
> I have of (a not particularly small) _Kronosaurus_ is 900mm in
> length...Irrespective of which species is the larger, this means that there
> was a very big pliosaur swimming around the N. American seas in the late
> Jurassic (is this why none of the dinos managed to get off the island in
> JP..?).  How such a beast can be ignored is beyond me, but I suppose that
> the sauropterygians have always been eclipsed by their furry and feathered
> food animals...
>
> So, does anyone know anything at all about this beast?  Like, are there any
> specimens in any of the museums in or around Wyoming?  Has anyone ever read
> the 1895/7 paper by Knight? I've written to Sam Welles about it, but perhaps
> somebody out in the ether has additional information.  Thanks in advance.
>
> BTW, with regard to the etymology of names, Kronosaurus does not mean 'time
> reptile' (although this PhD will take forever) as I've seen it written
> somewhere (John Long's book?).  It is named after the Greek Titan Kronos
> (known to the Romans as Saturn), the father of Zeus who reputedly ate most
> of his offspring (and yes, one popular account over here even said that the
> beast got its name because it too ate all its offspring).  Or perhaps, as
> some people maintain, the name comes from source of Klingon mythology that
> inspired the name for their flagship battle cruiser....
>
>
> A pleasant 1996 to all
>
> Colin
>
>
> references:
>
> H.A. Longman, 1930, Kronosaurus queenslandicus, a gigantic Cretaceous
> pliosaur, Mem. Qld. Mus., 10 (1): 1-7.
>
> W.C. Knight, 1895, A new Jurassic plesiosaur from Wyoming, Science, 2: 449.
>
> W.C. Knight, 1895/8(?), Amer. Journ. Sci., 4th ser., vol 5, p. 378.
>  *( ^ I haven't been able to get this one ^ )*
>
> A.S. Romer, 1956, The Osteology of the Reptiles
>
>
>
> Colin McHenry
>
> P.A. Swamps
> Dept Zoology
> Uni Qld
> Qld 4072
> Australia

Since he wrote this, Colin may have gotten the lit he was looking for
off Tracy. What? Tracy - an inexhaustible collection of literature?
Don't make me laugh;-)

DARREN NAISH