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Piecing back together giant pliosaur found in Kimmeridge Clay in 1952



Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com


A new online paper:

P.G. Hoare (2015)
Arthritic, scavenged and largely abandoned: the curious tale of a
giant pliosaur from the Kimmeridge Clay at Stretham, Cambridgeshire,
U.K.
Proceedings of the Geologists' Association (advance online publication)
doi:10.1016/j.pgeola.2015.05.002
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016787815000607



A substantial part of an exceptionally large pliosaur skeleton was
uncovered in Upper Jurassic Kimmeridge Clay at Stretham in 1952.
Relatively few bones were collected without delay by palaeontologists
before members of the public were permitted to take what they wanted.
When the importance of the find became evident, attempts were made to
recover the material that had been dispersed. Two further discoveries
of pliosaur bones dating from 1960 are assumed to belong to the same
animal. About one-quarter of the post-cranial skeleton, together with
four teeth and a few possible jaw fragments, are held in a museum
collection.
The osteological maturity, length and pathology of the specimen have
not been firmly established; and its scientific name has fallen victim
to the mistaken identification of a crucial skeletal element, to a
baseless association with the mandible of an unconnected fossil, to
changing views on the bones that are taxonomically significant and to
the frequent revision of Late Jurassic pliosaurid taxonomy. A fresh
study of the rather limited material that is available might lead to a
reconciliation of some of these issues. In the meantime, a
comprehensive review of every significant published paper and of
unpublished material relating to the discovery, collection and
examination of the Stretham pliosaur is presented here.