The Short-Necked Plesiosaur Called Attenborosaurus
Attenborosaurus superficially resembled a marine reptile called a Plesiosaur, with its long neck and relatively small head. Indeed, when the first fossils of this marine reptile were discovered in rocks on the Dorset coast (Jurassic coast) of southern England in the late 19th Century; it was classified as a member of the Plesiosaur family. At the time, relatively little was known about the short-necked Pliosaurs when compared to the extensive Plesiosaur material that had been discovered at famous Jurassic fossil locations such as Lyme Regis. As a result, despite having an almost complete skeleton to study, this marine reptile was formally assigned to the Plesiosaur family, being named Plesiosaurus conybeari by the eminent British geologist William Johnson Sollas in 1881.
It was only much later when casts and replicas of the the holotype fossils were studied by a team of American vertebrate palaeontologists with a much larger Pliosaur fossil record to compare the fossils against, was the “Plesiosaur” known as P. conybeari reassigned to the Pliosaur group.
An Illustration of the Marine Reptile now referred to as Attenborosaurus
Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur
To view a model of Attenborosaurus in the Collecta prehistoric animal model range: Collecta Prehistoric Animal Models and Figures