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Swimming reptile fossil examined



Swimming reptile fossil examined 

Rare fossilised bones from a 130-million-year-old reptile arrived at a Cambridge
museum on Tuesday. 
The remains of the pliosaur, which last swam in seas covering Colombia during
the time of the dinosaurs, are to be examined by scientists at the University of
Cambridge's Sedgwick Museum. 

The bones of the pliosaur, reptilian equivalent of the killer whale, were
excavated in 1967 outside Bogota and represented an entirely new species of
pliosaur previously unknown to scientists. 

But the four-metre long marine reptile, last alive during the Cretaceous period,
remained forgotten in vaults of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogota. 

They were rediscovered four years ago by student Marcela Gomez who has also
travelled to the UK. 
The skeleton has been loaned to the Sedgwick Museum where experts will remove
the bones from the rock, a process expected to take three years, and study them.

Dr Leslie Noe, a palaeontologist at the museum, said: "When I saw the for the
first time I was utterly amazed. 

"I knew instantly it was a very, very important animal, and completely new to
science. 

"It is important that we work with our Colombian colleagues in order to
understand this fascinating new beast." 

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/england/cambridgeshire/3373633.stm

Published: 2004/01/06 17:58:09 GMT