Huge fossilized 'sea dragon' is largest ever found in the UK
By T.K. Randall
January 10, 2022 · 3 comments
Ichthyosaurs were commonplace millions of years ago. Image Credit: Heinrich Harder
Palaeontologists have uncovered what is being hailed as the UK's largest ever ichthyosaur fossil.
Ichthyosaurs, which looked very similar to today's dolphins despite having no relation to them, would have been a common sight in the prehistoric seas between 250 million and 90 million years ago.
While many Ichthyosaurs were relatively small creatures, this particular specimen certainly wasn't.
Discovered during landscaping work at the Rutland Water Nature Reserve early last year, this gargantuan fossilized 'sea dragon' measures 30ft in length.
It dates back to a time when the area was submerged beneath a shallow ocean.
Palaeontologist Dr Dean Lomax of Manchester University has described the find as "truly unprecedented" and "one of the greatest finds in British palaeontological history."
"Usually we think of ichthyosaurs and other marine reptiles being discovered along the Jurassic coast in Dorset or the Yorkshire coast, where many of them are exposed by the erosion of the cliffs," he said.
"Here at an inland location is very unusual."
Excavations at the site remain ongoing, with the reservoir's manager - Anglian Water - looking to raise funds so that the ichthyosaur can be exhibited to the general public in the local area.
"A lot of people thought I was pulling their leg when I told them I'd found a large marine reptile at work," said worker Joe Davis. "I rang up the county council and I said 'I think I've found a dinosaur.'"
Source: BBC News
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