Sea predator goes on display in Dorset

The 2.4m-long skull of a Pliosauraus, thought to be the most dangerous and terrifying predator to have ever lived in our oceans, goes on display after being found on a Dorset beach

The skull of a dinosaur, which is said to have dominated the seas over 150 million years ago, has gone on display at the Dorset County Museum.

The Pliosauraus probably looked like a cross between a dinosaur and a plump 15-18m crocodile.

Though a whole skeleton has never been found, and may not even have ever fossilised at all, this skull is amongst others found in Oxfordshire, Svalbard and Mexico, and may be one of the biggest yet. The skull of a similar species, the Kronosauraus, has been found in Australia and measures a huge 3m.

Kevin Sheehan, a fossil collector, found the remains on a Dorset beach. His initial findings didn’t amount to much until a few years later. The fossil is now held in high esteem by palaentology experts.

It took 18 months to restore the fossil from its rocky encased remains, which looked to be just a pile of bones, and the reconstruction is now 95% complete. The fossil was purchased by the museum for £20,000.

The skull will be unveiled by David Attenborough at the Dorset County Museum today. Jon Murden, director of Dorset County Museum, said, “We are delighted to house such a world-class discovery, and the Weymouth Bay pliosauraus is now a fitting centrepiece in our ever popular Jurassic Coast gallery.”