Plesiosaur is Hardcore

In honor of today being the Chinese Lunar New Year, I thought it would be fun to do a post about my favorite dinosaurs. I know, I know; my logic is weird. But I believe it will make sense once I explain the connection. This year is the year of the Water Dragon! The last Water Dragon year was 1952 and the next one will be 2072. And so, for most of us, this is the one and only Water Dragon year of our lifetime. Why is this a big deal to me? Well, because I have a thing for aquatic reptiles… especially the BIG ones! My childhood dream was to be a marine biologist and prove the existence of the Loch Ness Monster.

My childhood dream come true.

This aspiration of mine came to a sad end when I grew wise enough to understand that, if I ever did find Nessie, she would just be locked up in a shitty little tank at Sea World so that people could gawk at her. If there really are any undiscovered giant aquatic predators out there… which, in my opinion, is pretty likely since most of our vast oceans are yet unexplored… I hope that they remain undiscovered and thereby unexploited. Anyway, my belief in the Loch Ness Monster was validated when I began studying dinosaurs around age eight and noticed that Nessie perfectly fit the description of a plesiosaur, specifically one belonging to the long-necked suborder Plesiosauroidea. Score! Brontosaurus was promptly replaced as my favorite dinosaur, which is probably a good thing since he never actually existed. Little did I know, though, that the Plesiosaurus that impressed me so much was actually one of the least impressive of its kind. Although cool looking and stealthy, the lengthy neck of this animal was a major liability when it came to defending itself against its super mean short-necked cousins.

Liopleurodon snacks on one of his little cousins.

Liopleurodon was a real life water dragon as epic as the biblical Leviathan. Some paleontologists think that these freaks reached over 80 feet in length and weighed 150 tons! If this is true, it would make Liopluerodon ferox the largest flesh-eating vertebrae known to have ever lived on planet Earth. However, I have to admit that there is much controversy surrounding such massive size approximations and it is generally believed that they did not get longer than 50 feet. Boo.

The Mosasaur family of oceanic beasts is also extremely badass! It includes the righteously ginormous Tylosaurus which has been proven to have reached a maximum length of at least 57 feet, as well as the iguana-sized Dallasaurus (discovered in my hometown of Dallas, Texas) who clearly demonstrates an evolutionary link from these monstrous sea-dwelling reptiles to the modern day monitor lizard family.

Dallasaurus, a fellow Dallas native and major evolutionary breakthrough.

Here’s an MSNBC news story about how this very important little dude was discovered: ‘Dallasaurs’ confirmed as key evolutionary link: Prehistoric lizard was found by amateur fossil hunter. You really should read it.

Hmmm… if that guy’s dino dream came true just by him deciding to go dig around in a construction zone, maybe my dream of finding a real, live water dragon can come true, too! Perhaps I was just looking in the wrong place. Screw Loch Ness; I should just be looking in my own backyard. Happy Chinese New Year, y’all!

P.S. What crazy childhood dream of yours could come true this year if you only gave it a shot?

P.P.S. Everything shown in a bold text is linked to more information!


~ by jessima1111 on January 23, 2012.

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