150m-year-old pliosaur skull fossil emerges from cliffs in England

The 2-meter diameter of a fossilised pliosaur skull found in cliffs in Dorset, England, belies the colossal size of the beast it once belonged to. It's so complete that the books will be rewritten and the BBC has already prepared a one-off show, narrated by David Attenborough, to air in January.

There are gasps as the sheet covering the fossil is pulled back and the skull is revealed for the first time.

It's immediately obvious that this pliosaur is huge and beautifully preserved.

There isn't a specimen anywhere else to match it, believes local palaeontologist Steve Etches.

"It's one of the best fossils I've ever worked on. What makes it unique is it's complete," he tells BBC News.

"The lower jaw and the upper skull are meshed together, as they would be in life. Worldwide, there's hardly any specimens ever found to that level of detail. And if they are, a lot of the bits are missing, whereas this, although it's slightly distorted – it's got every bone present.

According to Wikipedia, pliosaur means "more lizard" and is therefore quite an apt name. Check out those gnashers.