Elasmosaurus platyurus, the Cope Elasmosaur


Elasmosaurus platyurus

Locality: Kansas
Formation: Pierre Shale
Length: 12.8 m (42 feet)
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Elasmosaurus Scale

Elasmosaurus platyurus

This is the famous “Cope Elasmosaur” which started the "Bone Wars" of the 1870’s when E.D. Cope published the skeleton with the head on the wrong end and O.C. Marsh publicly embarrassed him. These enormous, long-necked marine predators probably specialized in ambushing prey from below. With eyes facing more upward than forward, Elasmosaurus seems best adapted to scanning for silhouettes of fish passing above and striking into schools using its neck which was more than twice the length of the rest of its body.

Cope Elasmosaur