Schumacher, Everhart publish article naming new fossil plesiosaur

Bruce Schumacher and Mike Everhart, adjunct curators at Fort Hays State University's Sternberg Museum of Natural History, recently published an article describing and naming a new fossil plesiosaur in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

The new species -- Megacephalosaurus, which means "large-headed lizard" -- was a top predator in the sea that covered Kansas about 90 million years ago.

Though the Megacephalosaurus skull has been in the Sternberg Museum collections for more than 60 years, only recently was the unique nature of the skull recognized and reported.

Recently, paleo-life artist Gary Staab created a life-size mount of Megacephalosaurus, scaled to the complete fossil skull in the Sternberg Museum. This reconstruction now dominates the entrance of the museum and reveals the animals were more than 25 feet in length.

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