OSLO, Norway - Remains of a prehistoric reptile found on an Arctic island may be a new species the size of a bus, researchers said yesterday.
Initial excavation on the Svalbard islands in August yielded the teeth, skull fragments and vertebrae of a reptile estimated to measure nearly 40 feet long, said Joern Harald Hurum of the University of Oslo.
"It seems the monster is a new species," Hurum said.
The reptile appears to be related to another sea predator whose remains were found on Svalbard last year. Researchers described those 150-million-year-old remains as belonging to a short-necked plesiosaur measuring more than 30 feet - "as long as a bus . . . with teeth larger than cucumbers."
The short-necked plesiosaur was a voracious reptile, sometimes called the T. rex of the oceans.
Mark Evans, a plesiosaur expert at the Leicester City Museums in Britain, said he did not know enough about the find to comment on it specifically. But he said new types of the sea reptiles were being found regularly.
Hurum said the Norwegian-led team had managed to excavate only a 3-meter area of the find. The group plans to present more detailed findings early next year.