Kevan Sheehan

Kevan Sheehan

British amateur paleontologist
Country: Great Britain

  1. Biography of Kevan Sheehan
  2. The Discovery of Pliosaurus kevani
  3. Exploration of the Jurassic Coast
  4. The Journey of Building the Skeleton
  5. The Characteristics of Pliosaurus kevani
  6. A Significant Discovery

Biography of Kevan Sheehan

The Discovery of Pliosaurus kevani

Kevan Sheehan, a retired 68-year-old owner of a small coastal cafe in Osmington near Weymouth, spent five years meticulously exploring the coastline in search of fragments of the skeleton of a prehistoric marine monster. This British amateur paleontologist became the discoverer of a new species of pliosaur, which was named Pliosaurus kevani in his honor. According to Sheehan, it was a "great day for all Kevans in the world." Today, the fossilized remains of the giant pliosaur are being studied by scientists. The discovery of this new species has been met with enthusiasm by experts, who consider it one of the most significant findings of its kind in the world, especially since the skull is relatively well-preserved. Pliosaurus kevani ruled the oceans 150 million years ago and is now believed to be one of the largest marine predators of the prehistoric period. Judging by the size of its jaws, it could have easily had a Tyrannosaurus rex for breakfast. The massive jaw of this ancient creature was filled with sharp teeth measuring 30 centimeters in length, leaving its prey with no chance of escape.

Exploration of the Jurassic Coast

Kevan Sheehan, the retired owner of a small coastal cafe in Osmington near Weymouth, spent five years meticulously exploring the coastline in search of fragments of the skeleton of this marine monster. It is worth noting that the skull of the pliosaur, measuring two and a half meters in length, was a truly unique find and was discovered on the so-called Jurassic Coast in Dorset, England. The Jurassic Coast, a 155-kilometer coastline, has been under the keen scrutiny of scientists from around the world for three centuries. In 2001, the Jurassic Coast was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List as a natural World Heritage Site.

The Journey of Building the Skeleton

When Sheehan first stumbled upon fragments of the skull, he thought they were petrified trees and took them home because of their beautiful texture. Sheehan went on a hunt for fragments of his pliosaur's skull daily for the past five years. Each time he discovered a new "piece" of this unusual puzzle, he would place it in his backpack and carry it to his home on the top of the coastal cliff. Piece by piece, he assembled approximately 95 percent of the complete pliosaur skull. The largest fragment weighed 76 kilograms, and Sheehan believes that, in addition to fame, his discovery also gave him problems with his knees and hip joint. Now, his efforts have received official recognition.

The Characteristics of Pliosaurus kevani

Pliosaurus kevani, like all pliosauroids, had a streamlined body, a massive head, powerful jaws, a short neck, and weighed approximately 12 tons according to scientists' estimates. It measured around 18 meters in length. It could swallow a large great white shark whole and easily bite a car in half. Two sets of powerful flippers and an equally powerful tail allowed it to reach high speeds while chasing its prey. It is likely that this ancient monster fed on ichthyosaurs resembling modern dolphins and mollusks like squid.

A Significant Discovery

Scientists have previously discovered the remains of other pliosaurs, but the reconstructed skull of Pliosaurus kevani differs significantly from them, leading to the declaration of a new species. Pliosaurus kevani was larger and stronger than its counterparts and had more teeth. Its lower jaw was very long compared to other species, and its teeth grew upwards and outwards, whereas the teeth of other pliosaurs grew straight up. This discovery holds great importance for British paleontology. Since 1820, fragments of other pliosaurs have been found, but they are much more fragmented. The Dorset County Council acquired Sheehan's discovery for £10,000. The reconstructed skull of the "kevanosaur" is now on display at the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester. A proud and happy amateur paleontologist, Sheehan speculates that he may be able to find other parts of his pliosaur's body.