The world’s only known fossil of a species of pliosaur, Pliosaurus carpenteri will go on display at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery this June.
The length of a bus with sharp teeth the size of bananas, four huge flippers and crushingly powerful jaws, the pliosaur was the ultimate predator of the Jurassic seas.
Discovered in Westbury, Wiltshire in 1994, Pliosaurus carpenteri is the first of its species and currently the only example known.
The fossil was excavated by staff from Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and local palaeontologists. Due to the size of the beast, it took ten years to prepare its fossil bones from the rock which encased them.
The specimen will form part of Bristol Museum & Art Gallery’s upcoming family exhibition, Pliosaurus! It will be the first time this pliosaur has been mounted and put on public display.
Laura Pye, Head of Culture at Bristol City Council said:
“We’re delighted that our very special pliosaur is going on display. We are very lucky to have such an internationally significant fossil in our collection; especially one which is relatively complete for a pliosaur.”
Aimed at 3 – 11 year olds, our Pliosaurus! exhibition will take visitors back in time 150 million years to meet a full size replica of Bristol’s pliosaur.
After meeting the beast and investigating her various injuries and diseases, including a dislocated broken jaw, infected flipper and a mouth abscess, visitors will encounter the mounted fossil to discover how the creature lived and died.
Isla Gladstone, Senior Curator of Natural Science at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery said:
“We are recreating a full sized interactive model of an eight metre long pliosaur that would have swum in the seas over Bristol millions of years ago. Meeting this pliosaur will be an inspiring and memorable experience for all our visitors and although it’s aimed at children, we’re certain that adults are going to enjoy it in equal measure!”
‘Pliosaurus! Face to face with a Jurassic Beast’ opens at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery on 17 June 2017. Entry to the exhibition is pay what you think.