Prehistoric marine reptile found in Scotland
By T.K. Randall
January 12, 2015 · 18 comments
Ichthyosaurs were once plentiful in the prehistoric seas. Image Credit: Heinrich Harder
The fossilized remains of a large dolphin-like creature have been found on the Isle of Skye.
The Loch Ness Monster may have acquired some competition this week as scientists in Scotland announced the discovery of Dearcmhara shawcrossi, a large ocean-dwelling reptile that roamed the prehistoric seas more than 170 million years ago.
The new species, which was part of the ichthyosaur family, measured a whopping 14ft in length and is believed to have feasted upon a diet of fish and squid.
"It is from Scotland, and is the first uniquely Scottish marine reptile ever discovered and studied," said paleontologist Steve Brusatte from the University of Edinburgh.
The name "Dearcmhara" is actually Scottish Gaelic for "marine lizard."
The fossils were originally discovered on a beach by amateur fossil hunter Brian Shawcross all the way back in 1959 before being donated to a museum several decades later.
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