A dog walker was taken by surprise when he chanced upon a 65 million-year-old fossil of a sea mammal. The skeleton was found on the coast near Stolford in the UK.
The prehistoric fossil is believed to of an ichthyosaur, a porpoise-like sea mammal.
Jon Gopsill, 54, was walking with his two dogs on the beach in Somerset when he made the discovery. The dogs started barking after they found a bone, which turned out to be the five-and-a-half-foot long fossil.
Gopsill, who calls himself an amateur archaeologist, was awestruck after finding the fossil, the UK-based The Telegraph reported.
He said he realized by observing the fossil that it belonged to an ichthyosaur. Gopsill claimed the skeleton had been lying in the shore for at least 65 million years.
“As soon as I saw it [the fossil], I knew had found something special. It is incredible that is has survived for such a long time and is now just there for everyone to see,” Gopsill was quoted as saying.
Dr Mike Day, curator in the Earth Sciences department at London’s Natural History Museum, said the skeleton possibly belongs to an ichthyosaur, The Sun reported.
Jurassic and Triassic rocks are present in the northern bays of West Somerset. Discovery of fossils is often reported from the area.
Last year, part of the lower jaw of an 85-foot ichthyosaur, around 200 million years old, was found in Lilstock village of Somerset.