For decades, paleontologists have puzzled over a fossil collection of nine Triassic icthyosaurs (Shonisaurus popularis) discovered in Nevada’s Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park. Researchers initially thought that this strange grouping of 45-foot-long marine reptiles had either died en masse from a poisonous plankton bloom or had become stranded in shallow water.
But recent geological analysis of the fossil site indicates that the park was deep underwater when these shonisaurs swam the prehistoric seas. So why were their bones laid in such a bizarre pattern? A new theory suggests that a 100-foot-long cephalopod arranged these bones as a self-portrait after drowning the reptiles. And no, we’re not talking about Cthulhu.
i09: Giant prehistoric krakens may have sculpted self-portraits using ichthyosaur bones
See also: Wikipedia entry for Kraken
Update: I thought the absurdity of this (there is no actual evidence, just speculation on the part of the researchers) was obvious, but apparently I was wrong (thanks to Liddell for this link). It’s a lot like that bacteria in space rocks story from a while back – it’s based on someone looking at some pictures and saying what they might represent. There’s no actual discovery here.
October 29, 2011 at 7:22 pm
Hi Klint, Ars Technica ran a really insightful rebuttal to this theory and I thought I’d pass it along – http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2011/10/the-giant-prehistoric-squid-that-ate-common-sense.ars