Saturday, August 20, 2022

Kronosaurus Fossil at Harvard Museum


On display as of August 2022, at the Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA is the fossil of a short neck pliosaur called Kronosaurus queenslandicus (Longman, 1924) [MCZ 1285]. The creature swam in the early Cretaceous Period seas (135 million years ago). It was found by an Australian rancher R.W.H. Thomas and shown to a member of the 1931-1932 Harvard Australian Expedition William E. Schevill (1906-1994). They were able to dynamite the limestone nodules out and then ship them back to Harvard. After Godfrey Lowell Cabot (1861-1962) provided the financing to prep the fossil, it was put on display in 1959.

Part of the skull, backbone, and paddles had weathered away but were able to be restored. About 30% of the fossil is plaster restoration and original bones are coated in plaster to protect the fossil. It appears the reconstruction has too many vertebrate so the 12.8 meter (42 ft) display should probably only be about 9-10.9 meters (30-36 ft). Also genus and species of this fossil should now be Electus longmani (Noe and Gomez-Perez, 2022).