Paleontologists Reveal the Identity of ‘Predator X’
Paleontology often relies on superlatives to entice the public. Fossil species are touted as being the biggest, oldest, strongest, weirdest, or whatever other –est applies if the designation will help popularize a discovery. But, sometimes, hype precedes science.
In 2009, journalists heralded the arrival of “Predator X” – an immense, big-headed marine reptile said to have a bite four times stronger than Tyrannosaurus rex (the perpetual yardstick for all things prehistoric). The leviathan had only recently come out of the ground, and the researchers who discovered the aquatic hunter had not yet published a technical description of the beast, but news reports, a History Channel documentary, and even an unrelated schlock film declared the little-known pliosaur as the most