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Massive 180-Million-Year-Old ‘Sea Dragon’ Fossil Discovered In UK Reservoir

Scientists have recently uncovered giant skeletal remains of an extinct ancient reptile existing at the era of the dinosaurs, about 180 million years ago, during the Jurassic period. They came across the remnants upon conducting routine maintenance on a British Nature reserve.

What they discovered was a 33-foot-long ichthyosaur fossil, the largest in the UK to have been found. The creature was an aggressive predator that dominated the waters during the Jurassic period.

Source: Anglian Water

Palaeontologist Dr Dean Lomax (lying next to the remains) believed it was an honor for him to be the head of the excavation team.

The fossil of this dragon is probably the biggest and most complete ever found in Britain. Moreover, it might be the country’s earliest ichthyosaur of its specific species (Temnodontosaurus trigonodon). Upon being lifted up for preservation and inspection, the block containing the 6 ft. (2 m) encircling clay alone weighed a tonne.

The dragon was noticed by Joe Davis, head of the conservation team of preservation and inspection in February 2021, when he was clearing a lagoon island for re-landscaping. Davis said: “A colleague of mine and I were walking along and I looked down and saw this series of ridges in the mud.”

He added, “There was something there that was different ― it had organic features where it connects to the rib. That’s when we thought we needed to call someone and find out what’s happening. It turned out to be very well preserved ― better than I think we all could have imagined really.”

Davis also believed that the discovery was truly remarkable and indeed a milestone in his career. It is simply amazing to obtain that much knowledge from the finding of this creature and to imagine of this skeletal remains swimming in oceans before us. He said that once again, Rutland Water is a haven for wetland wildlife, albeit on a smaller scale.

Source: Anglian Water

One of the fossil’s flippers can be observed being dug up

Dr. Dean Lomax, a paleontologist at the University of Manchester, head of the team of scientists, has conducted several studies on hundreds of ichthyosaurs. He said: “It was an honor to lead the excavation. Ichthyosaurs were born in Britain, and their fossils have been discovered here for over 200 years.”

Dr. David Norman, curator of dinosaurs at London’s Natural History Museum, claimed that this was absolutely an unprecedented finding, not to say one of the most remarkable in the paleontological chronicle of the U.K. Currently, the remains are being inspected and preserved in Shropshire, with the possibility of being returned to Rutland for permanent exhibition.

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