Image: Fossilized pliosaur jaw bone
Chris Ison  /  AP
Paleontologist Richard Forrest measures the jaw bone of a fossilized pliosaur found on the southern coast of England in Dorchester, England.
updated 10/27/2009 4:55:29 PM ET 2009-10-27T20:55:29

British authorities say the fossilized skull of a giant sea monster has been found off England's southern coast.

The fossil came from a pliosaur, a ferocious predator that lived in the oceans 150 million years ago.

The skull was discovered in Dorset by a collector and measures 2.4 meters (8 feet) in length. The discovery was announced Tuesday.

Scientists believe the creature would have been about 16 meters (52 feet) long.

David Martill, a paleontologist from the University of Portsmouth, says pliosaurs had short necks and huge, crocodile-like heads with powerful jaws and a set of razor-sharp teeth.

He said they used paddle-like limbs to propel their bodies through the water and were generally carnivores.

The skull will be put on display in a Dorset museum.

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