Sea Monster Found in Oregon

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on April 15th, 2007

Jurassic Crocodile Thalattosuchia

Photo in the News: Jurassic “Crocodile” Found in Oregon

March 22, 2007—It endured a rocky ride—literally—but this ancient “sea monster” from Asia has found a place in the United States to call home.

The fossil remains of a crocodile-like reptile called Thalattosuchia have been discovered in rocks in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon—about 5,000 miles (8,050 kilometers) from where it most likely died, researchers announced on Monday. So far about 50 percent of the animal, including the upper leg bone and rib fragments seen here (bottom), have been unearthed.

“This creature lived in Jurassic times, so it’s 150 to 180 million years old,” retired University of Oregon geologist William Orr said in a press release. Orr provided expert advice to the excavation team.

“It probably lived in an area from Japan to East Timor, somewhere in the western Pacific in a tropical estuarine environment.”

The reptile, the oldest ever found in Oregon, is a rare discovery in North America. But similar fossils have been found throughout Southeast Asia, so experts believe that the remains were carried to the U.S. by plate tectonics. As the section of Earth’s crust containing the fossils moved eastward, the Pacific plate collided with the North American plate, pushing the bones into the mountains.

The 6- to 8-foot-long (1.8- to 2.4-meter-long) creature, shown in an artist’s conception (top), is part of a group that scientists think represents an evolutionary transition for this line of crocodilians. Features from related fossils suggest that the animals were evolving from being semiaquatic to entirely ocean dwelling.

The newfound fossils will go to the University of Iowa for further study before going on display at an Oregon museum.

—Victoria Jaggard

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

One Response to “Sea Monster Found in Oregon”

  1. mjmurphy responds:

    Loren, have you heard of Adrienne Mayer? She is an anthropologist (I think) who has put alot of thought into how fossils would have played into the mind-set of “primitive” humans. For example, she has advanced the contention that myths of the Griffen are based on the horned dinosaur skeletons that literally littler the landscape in parts of Asia.

    Well, she has pointed out (in messages to the dinosaur mailing list) that this creature looks very much like the “water monster” drawings of certain indian tribes, and wonders whether the drawings may have been based on interactions with the fossils.

    She even has pictures of these drawings.

Leave your comments

You must be logged in to post a comment.

|Top | Content|

Connect with Cryptomundo

Cryptomundo FaceBook Cryptomundo Twitter Cryptomundo Instagram Cryptomundo Pinterest


Creatureplica Fouke Monster Sybilla Irwin


|Top | FarBar|

Attention: This is the end of the usable page!
The images below are preloaded standbys only.
This is helpful to those with slower Internet connections.