Richmond Pliosaur

The Richmond Pliosaur

The Richmond Pliosaur is the name given to an exceptionally well-preserved marine reptile fossil which was found between the towns of Hughenden and Richmond in 1990. This specimen, which is one of the best in the world, is the skeleton of an animal which lived in the inland sea which covered western Queensland 100 million years ago.

The pliosaur was discovered by Mr Ian Ievers when he was mustering cattle on a property in northwest Queensland. The Queensland Museum excavated the fossil. The specimen is an example of a short-necked marine reptile known as a polycotylid, but it was given the more common name of pliosaur for convenience.

The animal’s remains are nearly complete and are over four metres long. The skull is robust and contains many conical teeth presumably for feeding on fishes and squid which were abundant in the shallow inland sea. It has four long flippers for propelling and steering it through the water. Like all marine reptiles, it spent its time in the sea, but had to regularly surface to breathe.

Originally much of the specimen was encased in sedimentary rock. It took two people over two years full-time to prepare the fragile bones from the rock. It is a specimen of very high scientific value.

Consequently a full replica was made of the pliosaur and a copy formed an important exhibition in Kronosaurus Korner in the town of Richmond for many years. In 2012, the Queensland Museum returned this valuable specimen to Richmond on loan to Kronosaurus Korner to form part of an impressive new display.

Scientists are still studying the skeleton, and as yet it does not have a scientific name.

Queensland Museum's Find out about... is proudly supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.