Alaska’s First Elasmosaur Fossil Excavated

Since much about the early phase of the world is still much unknown, or at least mysterious, many are drawn to that particular era. Who wouldn’t be, what with the exotic sea creatures and land creatures that lived in those times and would eventually become extinct or evolve to the animals of today?

elasmosaur fossil identified by curator of earth sciences at university of alaska

There are thousands of museums across the world featuring exhibits of these ancient creatures. One of those exhibits is in the University of Alaska’s Museum of the North’s Dinosaur exhibit.

With this exhibit already up, it is appropriate that one of the museum’s own, the curator of the Earth Sciences, helped identify a fossil in the mountains that would become Alaska’s first elasmosaur fossil. That person is Dr. Pat Druckenmiller, a vertebrate paleontologist, who also helped in providing things for the dinosaur exhibit, i.e. he helped to excavate some of the fossils.

The discovery of Alaska’s first elasmosaur fossil

The fossil discovered was of an Elasmosaurus, a sea creature from the same family as the plesiosaur. The news of the find was announced by the University of Alaska in a press release, on the 22nd of this month.

The fossil was found in the Talkeetna Mountain area by a several people, one of which included Anchorage based fossil collector, Curvin Metzler. After the initial find, Dr. Druckenmiller was contacted and invited to area in order to examine the fossil, which he then identified as what it was. The piece he examined was sticking out of the 60 foot cliff, and he found it was part of the neck area. So further excavation went underway to see what else could be recovered. From what was uncovered, the length of Alaska’s first elasmosaur was estimated to be about twenty-five feet long. But there is still more to uncover as of yet.

fossil can help us learn more about the time period

By finding Alaska’s first elasmosaur, more studies can be done about the creature and tell us more about life in those olden days in the Alaskan region. As of yet, three of these types of sea creatures have been found in Alaska, and the elasmosaur is just one of those in the family tree.


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