Breaking News: UK Unearths Exceptional and Complete 180-Million-Year-Old Sea Dragon Fossil

In a groundbreaking discovery beneath the Jurassic cliffs of England’s East Midlands, the well-preserved remains of a real-life sea dragon have been found.

This isn’t a mythical beast but the fossilized remains of an ichthyosaur – the largest and most complete ever discovered in Britain.

Measuring an impressive 33 feet (10 meters) in length, the ichthyosaur fossil, estimated to be around 180 million years old, was unearthed by Joe Davis, Conservation Team Leader at Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, during routine conservation work at Rutland Water Nature Reserve in February 2021.

The fossilized remains were excavated by a team of paleontologists, and the results have just been made public.

The fossil is believed to be the largest and most complete ichthyosaur skeleton ever found in Britain. The specimen includes a 6-foot (2-meter) skull and surrounding clay, providing valuable insight into the life of these ancient marine reptiles. It is also the most comprehensive skeleton of a large prehistoric marine reptile discovered in the UK.

Dr. Dean Lomax, a paleontologist and world-leading ichthyosaur expert, expressed the significance of the discovery, stating, “It’s a highly significant discovery and one of huge importance internationally and nationally.

If our identification of the ichthyosaur is correct, as a species, it’s been unknown in the UK for 200 years, with the first remains found back in the early 19th century, also in Rutland.”

The ichthyosaurs were a group of marine reptiles that roamed the Earth’s oceans for about 180 million years, from the Early Triassic to the Late Cretaceous period.

While certain species of ichthyosaurs lived in the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, this particular giant marine reptile is believed to date back to the Jurassic era, making the find even more exceptional.

The meticulous excavation and collection of the fossil involved a painstaking job that took an extraordinary amount of expertise and more than 14 days of fieldwork. Before that, the research team had to carefully document the fossil in its position using photogrammetry, creating a 3D model of the specimen.

The fossil is expected to reveal new details about the biology and ecology of ichthyosaurs in the region during the Jurassic period.

The newly discovered ichthyosaur fossil promises to contribute significantly to paleontological knowledge, shedding light on the ancient marine life in Britain.

As academic papers are prepared and research progresses, this remarkable find is set to enhance our understanding of prehistoric ecosystems and the evolution of marine reptiles.


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