Name: Attenborosaurus ‭(‬Attenborough’s lizard‭).
Phonetic: At-ten-bo-ro-sore-us.
Named By: Robert T.‭ ‬Bakker‭ ‬-‭ ‬1993.
Synonyms: Plesiosaurus conybeari.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Sauropterygia,‭ ‬Plesiosauria,‭ ‬Plesiosauroidea,‭ ‬Plesiosauridae.
Species: A.‭ ‬conybeari‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Piscivore.
Size: 5‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: England,‭ ‬Dorset.
Time period: Early Jurassic.
Fossil representation: Single specimen of partial remains now only represented by a plaster cast of the original fossils.‭ ‬Skin impressions were also known with the original material.

       The discovery of Attenborosaurus was unorthodox to say the least.‭ ‬When first discovered the remains were referred to the Plesiosaurus genus as a new species,‭ ‬P.‭ ‬conybeari.‭ ‬These remains were destroyed during a bombing raid in World War II,‭ ‬but a plaster cast of them was made before this happened which has meant all but the original skin impressions can still be studied.‭ ‬This plaster cast was enough to bring the realisation that while similar to Plesiosaurus,‭ ‬the remains are different enough to warrant the creation of a new genus‭; ‬Attenborosaurus.
       As you may have already gathered from its association with Plesiosaurus,‭ ‬Attenborosaurus had the small head,‭ ‬long neck,‭ ‬round body with four flippers that are associated with all plesiosaurs.‭ ‬As Attenborosaurus approached shoals of fish it could use its long neck to reach in and snap up a fish,‭ ‬the sharp teeth in the mouth granting Attenborosaurus a secure grip upon its prey.‭ ‬The skin impressions with the original fossils are noted as being a smooth membrane that was devoid of any noticeably large scales.‭ ‬This smooth skin probably helped to streamline Attenborosaurus as it swam through the water by‭ ‬reducing drag from water resistance.
       Attenborosaurus is named after the Sir David Attenborough,‭ ‬who is perhaps best known for narrating a huge amount of BBC nature documentaries.‭ ‬The species name is derived from the original Plesiosaurus conybeari,‭ ‬which itself was named after William Conybeare who was one of two people who named the Plesiosaurus genus back in‭ ‬1821.

Further reading
- On a new species of Plesiosaurus (P. Conybeari) from the Lower Lias of Charmouth; with observations on P megacephalus, Stutchbury, and P. brachycephalus, Owen. - W. J. Sollas - 1881.


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