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150-million-year-old sea monster unearthed in once-tropical Poland

The pliosaur was so insanely massive it could've snacked on a T. rex.

pliosaurus-1-natural-history-museum-univ-of-oslo

A pliosaur takes down another unlucky victim in this illustration from the University of Oslo.

Natural History Museum/University of Oslo/Tor Sponga

Researchers have unearthed a 150-million-year-old fossilized sea monster called a pliosaur in a cornfield near a village in southern Poland. In a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, researchers from the Polish Academy of Sciences describe the titan of the Jurassic period.

With jaws up to about 8 feet long and 4.5 times more powerful than those of a Tyrannosaurus rex, the pliosaur could grow to be twice the size of a modern killer whale, weigh dozens of tons and eat any creature in the water. 

The fossil is about 33 feet long and was surrounded by ancient crocodile teeth and turtle shells and situated in what's believed to have been a tropical archipelago dotted with warm-water lagoons and reservoirs. 

"This new locality is rich in fossils of coastal and pelagic reptiles," the researchers wrote of the find's site, located in the northeastern part of the Holy Cross Mountains near the village of Krzyżanowice. 

Fossil specimens of pliosaur varieties have been discovered on every continent, including Antarctica, where scientists discovered rare pliosaur skull material in 2018.

Read more: T. rex had a skull so hard even T. rex couldn't break it, say scientists

pliosaur

Pliosaurus jaws and teeth from the Krzyzanowice site in Poland.

Proceedings of the Geologists' Association 2019

Originally published Nov. 5, 1:23 p.m. PT.
Update, Nov. 7:
 Adds geographic history of pliosaur discoveries.