Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Top Ten: Extinct Sea Monsters (Part 2 of 5)

So why did I split this post up into five parts?  Well, originally it was all just one big post, but it was simply too big, like so often happens.  So I will just post the rest of the parts throughout the next few days.  So here is part number two!
3.  Liopleurodon - A member of the short-necked Plesiosaurs, or Pliosaurs, Liopleurodon was the top predator of the Middle and Late Jurassic shallow seas that covered Europe at that time.  Fossils of Liopleurodon have been found in England, France, Germany, and Russia. 

4.  Shonisaurus - Shonisaurus is a fascinating example of convergent evolution.  When similar environmental and ecological pressures went to work on the ancestors of Shonisaurus, and the rest of the ichthyosaurs, as well as the ancestors of the dolphins and porpoises, they produced very similar results in very different kind of animals.  Shonisaurus and the rest of the ichthyosaurs are marine reptiles, while the dolphins and porpoises are both mammals.  Shonisaurus lived during the Late Triassic Period, right around when the dinosaurs were first making their debut.  At least thirty-seven skeletons of this giant have been discovered in Nevada. In fact, Nevada is still a fantastic place to see some of these creatures, especially Berlin Ichthyosaur State Park in Berlin, a few hours outside of Reno (pictured below)!  This is where the first bones belonging to Shonisaurus were actually discovered!  Definitely high on the list of places that I want to go!

Coming Up:
5.  Elasmosaurus
6.  Dunkleosteus
7.  Archelon
8.  Leedsichthys
9.  Tanystropheus
10. Tylosaurus

This post is part of the "Top Ten: Extinct Sea Monsters" series.  For the rest of the posts in this series, click HERE.  

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