Tag: Benjamin P. Kear

Ben is an Australian-born palaeontologist based at Uppsala University in Sweden. He has spent the past 15 years working on fossil marine reptiles including elasmosaurs, but also publishes widely on dinosaurs, pterosaurs, bony fishes and even the DNA-based evolution of Australasian marsupials. Ben’s field explorations have covered Australia, the Middle East, North America and Europe (including the Arctic), and resulted in more than 80 academic papers as well as three books (one under contact) on fossil marine reptiles and related palaeontological topics.

Contact Details

Benjamin Kear, Palaeobiology Programme, Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Villavägen 16, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden

Fossil Focus: Elasmosaurs

Fossil Focus
by Sven Sachs1 and Benjamin P. Kear2 Introduction: Elasmosaurs were a group of marine reptiles that lived during the Cretaceous period (about 145 million to 66 million years ago). They were fully adapted to an aquatic lifestyle, and had a distinctive body plan comprising a compact, streamlined body, long, paddle-like limbs and an extremely elongated neck with a large number of vertebrae (Fig. 1). The first named elasmosaur was Elasmosaurus platyurus from the Late Cretaceous (Campanian stage, about 83.6 million to 72.1 million years ago). It was found in Kansas and described by the famous US scientist Edward Drinker Cope  (1840–97, Fig. 2), who, when he first wrote about it in 1868, believed that the almost complete series of 72 neck vertebrae came from a massively long tail. Today, many