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New species of ichthyosaur identified

Posted on Sunday, 22 February, 2015 | Comment icon 4 comments

Large numbers of ichthyosaurs once swam in the prehistoric seas. Image Credit: Heinrich Harder
The fossil of a previously unknown species of prehistoric aquatic reptile has been found at a museum.
The remains, which had actually been discovered 30 years ago, had ended up being placed in a collection at Doncaster Museum where their true significance had gone unrecognized for decades.

It wasn't until paleontologist Dean Lomax came across the fossil that the new species was finally identified. Working together with Prof Judy Massare from the State University of New York, Lomax compared the specimen to over 1,000 other ichthyosaurs and realized that it was something that had never been seen before.

The fossil was so well preserved that it was even possible to view the contents of its stomach.

"We could see tiny hook-shaped features that were actually the hooks from the tentacles of squid," said Lomax. "So we know what its last meal was."

The specimen, which was discovered in rocks along Dorset's Jurassic Coast, is one of thousands found around Britain's shores where large numbers of ichthyosaurs once swam millions of years ago.

The new species has been named Ichthyosaurus anningae in honor of Mary Anning, the British fossil hunter who identified the first ever ichthyosaur fossil along the Dorset coast in 1811.

Source: BBC News | Comments (4)

Tags: Ichthyosaur, Fossil

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by SolarPlexus on 22 February, 2015, 15:10
Nice ! Who knows how many more forgotten remains are in dusty museums around the world
Comment icon #2 Posted by Sundew on 22 February, 2015, 20:39
Nice ! Who knows how many more forgotten remains are in dusty museums around the world Hard to say, but I've seen quite a few old fossils in the museums of the world, some still walking around!
Comment icon #3 Posted by SolarPlexus on 22 February, 2015, 23:52
Comment icon #4 Posted by newbloodmoon on 23 February, 2015, 7:11
I had recently had a BBC dinosaur special on, its a newer one and one of the special features talked about the amount of possible undiscoverd dinosaurs in storage at museums. I don't have the special in front of me so I cant remember the title off the top of my head.

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