The bones of a massive 150-million-year-old sea predator have been found in a cornfield in Poland.
The Jurassic-era bones belonging to a terrifying creature called pliosaurs, were discovered by palaeontologists in a field of corn in the village of Krzyzanowice, close to the Swietokrzyskie Mountains.
Measuring over 30 feet long and weighing several tons, the water predator was one of the largest creatures of its time.
Roaming the seas of Europe and South America during the Late Jurassic period, the carnivorous pliosaurs fed off any living thing they came across, evidenced by the mauled bones of giant turtles and huge 20-foot-long crocodile ancestors also found at the site.
During the Jurassic period, the area which is now in southeast Poland was an archipelago of tropical islands with warm lagoons and shallow sea reservoirs, reports the website Science in Poland.
Palaeontologist Dr. Daniel Tyborowski from the Museum of the Earth of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw said: ‘This environment was home to the marine reptiles we discovered.
They measured over 10 meters (30 feet) in length and could weigh up to several dozen tons.
‘They had powerful, large skulls and massive jaws with large, sharp teeth.
‘Their limbs were in the form of fins.
‘We found the bones of these pliosaurs in the north of the Swietokrzyskie Mountains.’
He added that the discovery was extremely rare: ‘In Europe they have so far been discovered in just a few countries, but never in Poland,’ he said.
Dr. Tyborowski and Dr Błażej Błażejowski published their findings in the Proceedings of the Geological Association journal, the scientists said that the bones are similar to those found in Kimmeridge Clay in Britain and the Svalbard Archipelago in the Arctic.
In addition to the pliosaur bones, the palaeontologists also discovered several other animal species from the same era.
These include plesiosaurs (long-necked cousins of pliosaurs), giant turtles and ancestors of modern-day crocodiles reaching six meters in length.
Dr Tyborowski said: ‘Sea turtles ate large snails, while they themselves fell prey to large crocodiles.
‘We know this because we found teeth marks left by those reptiles on turtle shells.
‘The pliosaurs hunted all the animals whose fossils we discovered at this site.’
In total, several hundred bones were discovered.
Dr Tyborowski said the discovery of the fossilised remains was the just the beginning.
‘We hope that the next months and years will bring even richer material in the form of bones of large reptiles,’ he said.