Fossilised Plesiosaur Tooth


5.5cm Plesiosaur Tooth in Matrix, Cretaceous period

Cretaceous; approx 75 million years old

Size; Tooth, 5.5 cm long, Matrix, 7.5cm x 5.7cm

Ref No F142




5.5cm Plesiosaur Tooth in Matrix, Cretaceous period

This Plesiosaur tooth on matrix is 5.5cm long and from Morocco, a country with a wide variety of superb fossils and minerals. The overall condition is excellent with a good point and enamel. Being in matrix both protects the otherwise fragile tooth and additionally makes it easier and more attractive to display. In addition to the actual tooth there are a variety of other interesting sections of fossilised bone in the matrix. Inevitably there has been some restoration work on the tooth, but  normal for something as delicate as this.

The plesiosaur was not a dinosaur but a ferocious, carnivorous, marine reptile. These creatures had an exceptionally small head and a long slender neck. Their wide body had two pairs of large flippers or paddles and a short stumpy tail. These creatures swam in the oceans between 215 million and 65 million years ago. During that span of 150 million years numerous types evolved. Plesiosaur gave birth to live young in shallower water. Some of the largest fossils indicate that the biggest individuals grew up to 15 metres. With the largest of these huge marine reptile weighing 30 tons or more. They are thought to have fed on everything from belemnites and clams and also fish and other reptiles.

Mary Anning the fossil hunter from Lyme Regis found the first complete plesiosaur in 1823. This was just one of her many remarkable discoveries. Sadly recognition of her work didn’t come until after her death in 1847.

These fossils from Morocco date back to the Cretaceous age and thus many millions of years old they are rarely in perfect condition. It is often necessary for restoration work to be done, as is the case with this tooth. This does not however detract from what is a fine display piece.

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