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Published on Sep 21, 2012
Scientists find 13-metre long fossil of a pre-historic reptile - called the Mosasaurus - in a Netherlands quarry.
A Mosasaur skeleton has been discovered in a limestone quarry in the Netherlands.
Mosasaurs are extinct marine reptiles that lived at the time of dinosaurs, just over 65 million years ago. This area was once covered by a shallow tropical sea where the Mosasaur lived.
The fossil was first discovered by an excavator at the quarry, who suddenly saw the giant teeth in the shovel of his digger.
After the discovery, the owner of the quarry halted all digging operations, and informed the local Natural History Museum of the find.
Palaeontologist Anne Schulp describes what he found in the remains.
[Anne Schulp, Paleontologist at Maastricht Natural History Museum]: "We see all the bones here scattered around and it is not like one complete skeleton, all the bones are over a very wide area and that is because the dead animal, the carcass ended up at the sea floor and then scavenging sharks came in, ripped the carcass apart and we have got the bones and all the little bits and pieces pretty much everywhere so it is a bit of a jungle."
Schulp estimates that when put together, the entire skeleton is over 14 yards long.
The uncovered parts have been brought to the museum where experts carefully keep the remains in the basement to preserve them.
Corrien Derksen, Manager of Natural History Museum Maastricht]: "The bones are very vulnerable and the clay is very vulnerable, that is why they pack everything in the pit, and that is why they are gonna take it very carefully because it is very moist and you can see here that is falling apart only from the picking up two or three times yesterday."
The findings so far suggest they belonged to the oldest known specimen of the 'Mosasaurus Hoffmanni' group or of a closely related species.
The museum said they hope to recover the entire skeleton by Christmas, so it can be put on display next to another Mosasaur found in 1998.