UK’s largest ichthyosaur fossil was a 10-metre-long apex predator

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The largest ichthyosaur fossil ever recovered successful the UK has been unearthed successful the Rutland Water Nature Reserve

Life 10 January 2022

By Jason Arunn Murugesu

Palaeontologists moving   connected  the Ichthyosaur

The ichthyosaur skeleton recovered astatine Rutland Water Nature Reserve

MATTHEW POWER PHOTOGRAPHY

Gigantic dolphin-like marine reptiles erstwhile swam the seas. Now, a adjacent implicit fossilised skeleton of a 180-million-year-old ichthyosaur that measured 10 metres successful magnitude has been discovered successful the UK.

The fossil is the largest and astir implicit ichthyosaur skeleton unearthed successful the UK. It was recovered successful the Rutland Water Nature Reserve near Leicester.

Joe Davis astatine Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust says helium discovered the fossil by accidental arsenic helium was moving connected landscaping the region. “I cognize tons of radical person spent their lives looking for thing similar this and I’ve been precise fortunate to travel crossed it,” helium says.

It is believed to beryllium the archetypal of its species, Temnodontosaurus trigonodon, to beryllium recovered successful the UK. Such fossils are typically recovered successful North America and Germany.

The ichthyosaur was an apex predator. This taxon belonged to a group suggested to person had possibly the largest eyes of immoderate known vertebrate animal, immoderate 20 centimetres successful diameter.

“It is simply a genuinely unprecedented find and 1 of the top finds successful British palaeontological history,” says Dean Lomax astatine the University of Manchester, who led the fossil’s excavation.

Mary Anning discovered the archetypal ichthyosaur fossil successful astir 1811 successful Lyme Regis successful Dorset. The long-overlooked palaeontologist is soon to beryllium recognised with a statue successful the town.

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