Plesiosaurs by the Tail
Bones don’t lie. But they don’t tell the whole truth. Certainly not for prehistoric creatures. The bones paleontologists are constantly coaxing from stone and scrutinizing in museum collections are often the only clues to animals that have long since lost their flesh. Putting that flesh back onto the remaining osteological framework relies on the scars, ridges, depressions, and other clues that testify to the intimate relationship between soft tissues and skeletons.
Not all clues are equally easy to read. In the 19th century, when paleontology was still an infant science, artists and researchers often envisioned the impressively-ornamented Irish Elk as having a relatively flat back with a neck held up at a right angle to the rest of the body. It