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    Description

    RARE FOSSIL PLESIOSAUR PADDLE
    Suborder: Plesiosauridae, unknown species
    Cretaceous, Campanian Stage
    Pierre Shale, Fusion Canyon, South Dakota

    73 million years ago the Midwest of North America was a warm shallow seaway teeming with exotic life. Part of this sea deposited as the Pierre Shale and contains well-preserved fossils ranging from the nautilus-like Ammonites to giant lizard-like Mosasaurs. Amongst the most exciting and rare fauna from this area are the Plesiosaurs, large carnivorous aquatic marine reptiles with long necks that swam using four paddles like underwater wings to fly through the water. Comprising numerous families, Plesiosaurs hold an esteemed position in paleontology as the apex marine predators of the Mesozoic era. They grew up to 60 feet in length and had jaws of razor sharp teeth for catching fish and other prey. Plesiosaurs died out at the end of the Cretaceous in the K-T mass extinction 65 million years ago, although some claim they survived the extinction and can explain the sightings of sea serpents and lake monsters today; the Loch Ness Monster is frequently claimed as a Plesiosaur, and the discovery of a carcass with flippers and a long neck in 1977 prompted a Plesiosaur craze in Japan (it was most likely the decayed remains of a Basking Shark). This rare specimen is the hind paddle belonging to an individual that was likely over 25 feet long, from an unidentified Plesiosaur species. Because of the large number of relatively small bones, it is very rare to find paddle elements all from the same individual; these were found within a 4 square-meter area. Most of the bones in the present specimen are original with few being casts from the originals. The pelvic girdle, femur and other major bones have little restoration and the bones are set in a gypsum matrix that is colored with both matrix paint and ground pieces of Pierre Shale. The entire piece is backed with wood and resin for stability, and measures 44 x 35 inches.


    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
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    Auction Dates
    January, 2010
    17th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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