Everyone Is Freaking Out About This Amazing 25-Foot Reptile Discovered In Alaska

There is still so much we don't know...

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.

An illustration of a Cretaceous seascape featuring elasmosaurs. Painting by James Havens. (Image Courtesy of University of Alaska Fairbanks)
An illustration of a Cretaceous seascape featuring elasmosaurs. Painting by James Havens. (Image Courtesy of University of Alaska Fairbanks)

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.

According to scientists, the creature is estimated to be a whopping 25 feet long, including its 36 to 72 vertebrae neck that makes up about half its body length. 

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

A James Haven sculpture of the creature underwater.

For more information about this discovery, be sure to check out the University of Alaska Museum of The North's website, or follow The Alaska-Paleo Project on Facebook.