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Existence of Loch Ness Monster is ‘plausible’ after fossil discovery

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Dr Nick Longrich, corresponding author on the paper, said: “We don’t really know why the plesiosaurs are in freshwater.

“It’s a bit controversial, but who’s to say that because we paleontologists have always called them ‘marine reptiles’, they had to live in the sea? Lots of marine lineages invaded freshwater.”

The first complete skeleton of a plesiosaur was first found in Lyme Regis, Dorset, in 1823 by Mary Anning, an English fossil hunter.

The creature was found to have a small head, long neck and four flippers and was named “near lizard” because it was thought to more closely resemble modern reptiles, compared to the Ichthyosaurus, which had been found in the same rock strata just a few years earlier.

It swam by flapping its fins in the water, much as sea lions do today, and lived from the late Triassic Period into the late Cretaceous Period, around 215 million to 66 million years ago, before being wiped out with the dinosaurs.

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