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Massive Fossilised 'Sea Dragon' Unearthed By Worker in UK Reservoir

By: Buzz Staff

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Last Updated: January 11, 2022, 14:30 IST

Lomax further highlighted that it was very unusual to find the remains of such marine reptiles at an inland location like Rutland. (Credits: Twitter/@Dean_R_Lomax)

Lomax further highlighted that it was very unusual to find the remains of such marine reptiles at an inland location like Rutland. (Credits: Twitter/@Dean_R_Lomax)

The ichthyosaur was a sea predator that lived between 250 million and 90 million years ago.

In a startling discovery, one of the biggest fossilised remains of a sea predator were found at the Rutland Reservoir in UK. The fossil measuring 10 metre in length was later identified as of an ichthyosaur. According to a BBC report, the remains were unearthed after a worker Joe Davis at the Rutland Water Nature Reserve spotted something peculiar in the mud and thought it to be organic. Upon taking a closer look, he also noticed a jawbone-like structure bulging out of the ground and informed the council. To shed light on the find, palaeontologists were brought to the site who examined it and concluded that the remains were of an ichthyosaur. "Truly unprecedented" and – due to its size and completeness – "one of the greatest finds in British palaeontological history,” Dr Dean Lomax, a palaeontologist at Manchester University told BBC.

According to the palaeontologists, the ichthyosaur was a sea predator that lived between 250 million and 90 million years ago. The sea creatures used to be warm-blooded and air-breathing more like dolphins and could grow up to 25 metres in length. Lomax further highlighted that it was very unusual to find the remains of such marine reptiles at an inland location like Rutland. Usually, these are found in Dorset along the Jurassic coast where they surface due to the erosion by the cliffs.

Following the discovery, the water levels at the reservoir were brought down to carry out the excavation work in the summer of 2021. The remains, especially the huge skull of the creature, was carefully placed on wooden splits and covered in plaster after being dug out. Underscoring the size of the fossil which weighs around a tonne, a palaeontological conservator at Reading University Nigel Larkin said,"It's not often you are responsible for safely lifting a very important but very fragile fossil weighing that much.”

Meanwhile, the Rutland Reservoir is seeking funds while hoping to keep the ichthyosaur fossil at the site for general public viewing.

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first published:January 11, 2022, 14:30 IST
last updated:January 11, 2022, 14:30 IST