In the run up to the blockbuster exhibition, Age of the Dinosaur, our curator Geoff Tresise is going to tell us some interesting facts about the different species of dinosaurs you will be able to see. This week he tells us about dinosaurs from the deep:
During the Jurassic period, 180 million years ago, England was covered by warm tropical seas. The fossil remains of the giant reptiles that swam in these seas have made Dorset's "Dinosaur coast" famous. When these fossils were first found, early in the Nineteenth century, scientists wondered if these strange creatures might still be living deep in the world's oceans. We now know that these reptiles, along with the land-living dinosaurs, became extinct 65 million years ago.
In the 'Age of Dinosaurs' exhibition, you can visit the Jurassic seas to see how these reptiles looked and lived. Some were Plesiosaurs with bodies like turtles but with long tails and even longer necks. Ichthyosaurs looked much like modern dolphins and, like dolphins, gave birth to live young. Thus they could spend their whole lives at sea, unlike the Plesiosaurs which may have laid eggs on land. However there were also Pliosaurs, the Jurassic equivalent of Killer Whales and the top predators of these oceans. Be warned - if there are Pliosaurs around, the Jurassic sea is a dangerous place to be.
'Age of the Dinosaur' opens on 22 October at World Museum – you can watch our video trailer and buy advance tickets now.