The ferocious creature, which was 15.8 metres long and lived 150 million years ago, was so powerful it could have bitten a car in half and had a Tyrannosaurus rex for breakfast, scientists said.
The 8ft long skull of the pliosaur was found on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast after storms brought down limestone cliffs.
Weighing up to 12 tons, the pliosaurs were a short-necked form of plesiosaur, a group of giant aquatic reptiles that dominated the oceans during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. They had immensely powerful jaws and a set of razor-sharp teeth.
Richard Forrest, a palaeontologist and plesiosaur expert, said the T. rex was a “kitten” compared with the pliosaur.
“One of the things that is very clear from looking at this specimen is just how powerful this animal was,” he said.
“If we look at the lower jaw this is the point at which the muscles attach and then you’ve got the great beam coming forward; that bone is roughly the strength of steel.
“So it was an enormously powerful biting machine. These things were big enough and powerful enough to bite a small car in half.
“It would take a human in one gulp. It would take T. rex in one gulp. Compared to this beast, T. rex was a kitten.”