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Impeccably Preserved Jurassic Crocodile - Steneosaurus bollensis

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This 13.45' (4.1 meter) Jurassic crocodile is a breathtaking find from the Holzmaden Shale in Southwest Germany, a locality renowned for its exceptionally preserved fossil specimens. In addition to its jaw-dropping size, it boasts incredible articulation of bones and scutes, and has many features that are rarely found preserved, including tracheal rings, skin impressions and jaws lined with complete rows of original teeth. The specimen is virtually complete and has extremely minimal restoration (only on parts of tail vertebrae). 

Considerable time and skill was needed to reveal this specimen from the surrounding matrix - meticulous, specialized work using the latest techniques and equipment. The fossil preparation was carried out to the most exacting of standards, bringing to life every detail while preserving the integrity of the fossil. 

This marine predator once inhabited warm Jurassic seas that teemed with a variety of ammonites, ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, crinoids (sea lilies) and many fish species. It predates Tyrannosaurus rex by over 100 million years. 

Steneosaurus closely resembles living crocodilians called gharials, which are native to India. Like the long-snouted gharial, it is thought to have been a fish-eater. Surprisingly, however, this extinct group is not directly related to the modern species.

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Note that we have included pictures of the specimen in various lighting conditions.

  • Species: Steneosaurus bollensis 
  • Formation: Posidonia Shale 
  • Location: Holzmaden, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany
  • Age: Lower Jurassic (Toarcian), 174 to 182 million years old
  • Shale layer: Epsilon II 6 (Schieferklotz)
  • Specimen measures approximately 4.1 meters / 13.45 feet (following curvature of vertebrae). 
  • Shale slab measures 3.85 x 1.85 meters / 12.63 x 6.0 feet
  • Weighs approximately 600 kg / 1322 lbs.
  • Preparation notes: Very minimal restoration overall - see bone map image, green indicates restored parts (only on some parts of tail vertebrae) 
  • Includes custom heavy steel frame and hanging moulds for wall-hanging

Steneosaurus reconstruction

Artist's reconstruction of Steneosaurus Credit: Nobu Tamura

Background Image Credits: 1. skdesign / 123RF Stock Photo 2. kantver / 123RF Stock Photo 3. peshkov / 123RF Stock Photo 4. icetray / 123RF Stock Photo