Fragments of bone from a plesiosaur vertebra protrudes from the top edge of this piece of shale in this photo from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Preparing the skull, Patrick Druckenmiller works carefully to prepare the plesiosaur skull for its plaster jacket in this photo released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Dave Bradt wasn't able to tag the trophy he got while bowhunting for elk in the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in September. That's because he found the fossilized remains of an ancient sea creature, not the bull elk he was pursuing.
Dave Bradt snapped this self-portait including the fossil he found in the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in north-central Montana. The area was an inland sea 75 million years ago; the creature was an aquatic carnivore.
Bradt thought he had found the tail of a dinosaur, but paleontologists believe it is actually part of a plesiosaur's long neck. Plesiosaurs could grow up to 40 feet long, breathed air, had sharp teeth in small heads and were powered by four fins.