Kansas is a dry, landlocked prairie state, hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean. But 100 million years ago, a shallow sea stretched across the middle of what’s now North America. This sea was populated by sea creatures including the giant marine reptile Elasmosaurus. Elasmosaurus was a plesiosaur with a very long neck– its neck along was 23 feet long.

Plesiosaurs went extinct along with the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, but their fossilized remains show us what they were like. Elasmosaurus was first discovered in 1867 by an army surgeon stationed in Kansas during the construction of the Union Pacific Railway, but scientists are still discovering new forms of prehistoric life to this day.

Photo by MCDinosaurhunter