The near complete hind paddle of the ‘giant’ Stretham pliosaur with individual bones numbered prior to removal from the Kimmeridge Clay. The 2m long fossil is now on display in the Sedgwick museum. (Sedgwick Museum image archived SMES FRBS DDF Box 599)
Just over 60 years ago, in June 1952, the remains of a giant marine reptile known as a pliosaur were uncovered by a dragline excavator at Stretham, near Cambridge. At an estimated length of between 10 and 20 metres, the extinct predator was described in the local press as one of the biggest and most complete pliosaurs known. However, a more realistic estimate cuts it down to around 12 m long – the length of a standard bus.