Forget The Loch Ness Monster, there’s a new underwater menace from the age of the dinosaurs that is taking the spotlight.
Popularized in the 2015 film Jurassic World, the aquatic mosasaurus has captured the hearts and minds of people all over the world. Thought to reach lengths up to 60 feet (18 meters), the mosasaurus would truly be a monstrous behemoth to behold.
And in September 2006, Russian soldiers thought they may very well had stumbled upon the remains of a real mosasaurus off the shores of Sakhalin.
A decomposing carcass was the only thing left behind by the mysterious beast that had washed ashore. Its body shape and skeletal structure all seemingly matched that of a mosasaurus. Despite being exposed to the elements, its body was still well-preserved with remnants of its skin clinging to its bones.
It wouldn’t be the first time such a find was discovered intact. In April 1977, Japanese fishermen inadvertently hauled the 32-foot-long carcass of what looked like a plesiosaur onboard their vessel off the east coast of New Zealand. The stench of the body was overpowering, so the crew ended up tossing it back into the ocean, but not before snapping some pictures of it and taking samples from its body.
Those samples were later tested in a lab and determined to belong to a basking shark. So, it wasn’t a plesiosaur after all. Similarly, the mosasaurus remains found in Russia found in Sakhalin are now believed to belong to a less mysterious animal.
While locals didn’t know what to make of the carcass, prominent researchers suspected it belong to an ‘archaeoceti’, otherwise known as an ‘ancient whale’. And they were almost right.
Analysis of the creature’s skull determined that it most likely belonged to a beluga whale. While that may not quite qualify as an ancient whale, it’s a much closer match than a mosasaurus.
Although the final conclusion may not be as exotic as some had hoped, for those who want to get a better idea of what a real well-preserved extinct reptile such as a dinosaur might look like, the body of an actual nodosaur was recently found in Canada.