Going neck-and-neck with a Plesiosaur in this week’s Speaker Series
Ramon Nagesan, Education and Preparation Lab Liaison at the Royal Tyrrell Museum will be presenting a talk called “Move Over Nessie! Neck Mobility in Plesiosaurs, the Long-Necked Marine Reptiles of the Mesozoic.” Plesiosaurs, the Long-Necked Marine Reptiles of the Mesozoic.”
Long-necked plesiosaurs are extinct marine reptiles that lived at the same time as dinosaurs. These marine reptiles were unlike anything that had evolved previously, and nothing like them has evolved since. To understand the eco- logical role they may have filled, it is important to study the function of one of their most dramatic features: the extremely long neck. In some groups, such as Albertonectes, there may be upwards of 76 cervical vertebrae.
To put this in perspective, a mammal has only seven! Their long neck may have played an important role in how these plesiosaurs interacted with their environment.
In his talk, Nagesan will explain how he deduced the function of the neck of an exemplar long-necked plesiosaur, Nichollssaura borealis, using three-dimensional (3D) modelling and comparative anatomy. 3D modelling techniques, including CT scanning and 3D digital photogrammetry, are making their way to the forefront of palaeontological research. They can be used in a variety of circumstances to achieve research, conservation, and display objectives on specimens.
The Royal Tyrrell Museum’s Speaker Series talks are free and open to the public. They are held every Thursday until April 27 at 11:00 a.m. in the Museum auditorium. Past Speaker Series talks are also available on the Museum’s YouTube channel: youtube. com/user/RoyalTyrrellMuseum