fossil of the weekend! #4

new zealand's most complete fossil skeleton, the pleisosaur kiawhekea. the skeleton is on display at the otago museum here in dunedin.


Raptor Lewis said...

Very Cool, Traum!! Makes sense it's their ONLY complete fossil. NZ is an archipelago or a group of islands, right? Well, Plesiosaurs would've been abundant in the Mesozoic, huh?

Traumador said...

to be honest it doesn't make sense actually. they really should have more complete skeletons like this one.

it is MUCH easier to fossilize something in a marine environment than on land. they have found a lot of marine reptiles, but except for this one none are much more than a head and neck OR the torso with a paddle or two still attached. a big part of their problem i think is the way these are fossilized here. they come in HUGE heavy concretions that you can't see into, and take forever to clean off.

as for new zealand being a tiny set of islands, funny enough at this time in prehistory when it broke off from the rest of gondwanna it was its own continent. called zealandia it was almost half the size of australia at that point. it wasn't till about 40 million years ago most of this slupped off and sank into the ocean. taking with it a lot of its fossils no doubt, and left us with just the volcanic bits of itself.

i was going to do up a post on this all when i get back to new zealand. this is just a preview ;)

Raptor Lewis said...

Good Point. Can't wait for that post.

Dinorider d'Andoandor said...

yes with that Zealandia post yu wrote I was hoping not to find so many marine fossils but here it is a plesiosaur! does it mean that they could reach rivers or something like that or perhaps it was a bay?

In my city only one single plesiosaur has been found AFAIK, despite the fact that most of my country was underwater by that time.