In a remarkable discovery, a team of paleontologists in the UK has unearthed the fossil of an ancient ‘sea dragon’ that dates back 180 million years.
The fossil, which was found on the coast of Dorset, is a significant find that sheds new light on the evolution of marine reptiles during the Jurassic period.
The sea dragon, known scientifically as Ichthyosaurus somersetensis, was a large marine reptile that roamed the seas during the early Jurassic period.
It was a top predator, feeding on fish and other marine animals. The newly discovered fossil is particularly significant because it is one of the most complete specimens of the species ever found.
The fossil was discovered by fossil hunter Chris Moore, who was exploring the coast of Dorset when he came across the remains. Moore contacted the local authorities, who in turn contacted a team of paleontologists from the University of Southampton.
The team quickly identified the fossil as an Ichthyosaurus somersetensis, and began the process of excavating the remains.
The excavation process was complex and time-consuming, requiring delicate tools and careful handling of the fragile fossil.
The team worked tirelessly over several weeks to carefully extract the remains from the surrounding rock, and to piece together the various bones and fragments into a complete skeleton.
The resulting specimen is truly remarkable. It measures around 4 meters in length, making it one of the largest Ichthyosaurus somersetensis specimens ever found.
The skeleton is almost complete, with only a few small missing pieces. The team was able to identify various features of the animal’s anatomy, including its large eyes, long snout, and powerful tail.
The discovery of this fossil is particularly significant because it sheds new light on the evolution of marine reptiles during the Jurassic period. Ichthyosaurs were a group of marine reptiles that evolved during the early Triassic period, around 250 million years ago.
They were highly adapted to life in the sea, with streamlined bodies, powerful tails, and paddle-like limbs.
The newly discovered specimen is particularly interesting because it shows a number of features that were previously unknown in Ichthyosaurus somersetensis. For example, the animal’s large eyes suggest that it may have been a nocturnal predator, hunting at night when its prey was less active. Additionally, the shape of its snout suggests that it may have had a particularly powerful bite, allowing it to take down larger prey than other Ichthyosaurus species.