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Potentially Unbelievable Discovery: Did a sea monster make an artwork… out of bones?


Robotic Staff
Staff member
Robotic Staff
Oct 15, 2005
Lair of Ancient 'Kraken' Sea Monster Discovered - LiveScience.com


Lair of Ancient 'Kraken' Sea Monster Discovered
[SIZE=-1]The kraken, which would've been nearly 100 feet (30 meters) long, or twice the size of the colossal squid, Mesonychoteuthis, likely drowned or broke the necks of the ichthyosaurs before dragging the corpses to its lair, akin to an octopus's midden, ...[/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Did a sea monster make an artwork… out of bones?[SIZE=-1]World Science[/SIZE][/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Triassic 'Kraken' may have created self-portrait[SIZE=-1]TG Daily[/SIZE][/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]Giant kraken lair discovered[SIZE=-1]Science Codex[/SIZE][/SIZE]
[SIZE=-1]all 10 news articles[/SIZE]



Staff member
May 30, 2000
Well the "self-portrait" aspect does seem a bit over-the-top fanciful, but I can understand a scenario where a ceph would arrange bones of an ichthyosaur (not necessarily one s/he killed) outside its den, as octopuses typically do. Looking forward to the report...


Jan 19, 2007
Here's an explanation I think is somewhat more plausible - both octopus suckers and these particular ichthyosaur bones conform to optimal space-utilisation of alternating offset rows. The resemblance between them is due this alone.

Vertebral disks land flat-side down under agitation, particularly if they have spiny processes. So the flat-side up thing is no real mystery, as long something occurred to jiggle the bones about (currents or tides, for example). Now, as for the alternating arrangement, that is the tightest stacking possible for round things. So all one would need to reproduce this pattern is agitation (not unfeasible in the ocean...) and some edge structure against which the bones could be packed (again, given it's a sea-floor, hardly improbable).

I'd love it to be the Kracken too, but sadly I think some better evidence than this is needed for its existence.


Blue Ring
Sep 21, 2011
I really hope that poor guy doesn't get up in front of a lot of intelligent people and say that those vertebrae are self portraits. Although, maybe he does have an argument, it was a lazy cephalopod who hated changing to look like its environment, so it changed its environment to look like it. Maybe if paleontology doesn't pan out for him he could write a children's book about the importance of not changing yourself to look like others. Kidding aside, I think he is really probably more interested in the idea of a "Kraken" being what killed all these. The self portrait bit is probably just an obsessive aside.

At least that's what I thought before reading http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/facultyprofiles/ma_mcmenamin.html

Anyway, I'M more interested in the idea of a giant octopus like creature having killed them. Would they? Drowning a shark and a reptilian are two different things. Would they do it to eat them? to eliminate a competitor? kill or be killed? What evidence is there of modern cephs performing similar behavior in the wild?

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