British paleontologists have found the fossil of a 180-million-year-old, 33-foot-long “sea dragon” ichthyosaur in a lagoon about 100 miles north of London.
They say it’s the largest ichthyosaur ever found in Britain. It had a long snout, big eyes and big teeth. Ichthyosaurs, marine reptiles, first appeared in the early Jurassic Period and then disappeared about 90 million years ago. The fossil’s skull weighs more than a ton.
“It is a truly unprecedented discovery and one of the greatest finds in British paleontological history,” Dean Lomax, the leader of the group that excavated the fossil, said in a statement.
The fossil was found in the Rutland Water Nature Reserve, after it was drained in a landscaping project. Joe Davis, the conservation team leader there, told The New York Times that he found it as he was walking in his waders. “I realized it might be something from the dinosaur era,” he said. “We could see these ridges and bumps. That’s when alarm bells started to ring.”
Davis alerted city officials who called in the scientists. They say it will take 18 to 24 months to preserve the ichthyosaur’s skeleton, and then they will put it on display. Read more: