It seems that every week, a new discovery is changing the way we think of the animal kingdom.
Not more than a month ago, we got the news that our beloved velociraptor probably looks way different than we thought. Now, we're getting news that in the side of an Alaskan cliff fossils a long-necked reptile with paddlelike appendages were discovered.
Renderings of the creature like the one above were produced by James Havens, who works on The Alaska Paleo-Project. The bones of the creature above belond to what's known as an elasmosaur, a sea creature believed to have spent time in our oceans 75 million years ago. Now being excavated by University of Alaska Museum, the discovery was surprising to some — not because we didn't know elasmosaurs existed — but because they didn't expect to find one in the remote snow-covered Talkeetna Mountains of Alaska.
So if it is a sea creature, what's it doing in the mountains of Alaska?
According to Patrick Druckenmiller, earth sciences curator at the University of Alaska Museum of the North, it actually makes quite a bit of sense.
"The rocks that the skeleton was found in were laid down on the seabed about 70 to 75 million years ago. At that time there was a sea along the southern margin of [what is now] Alaska," he told Live Science.