Researchers make unprecedented discovery, giant 'sea dragon' found

Researchers made an unprecedented discovery that is dubbed one of the unearthed 'greatest finds in British paleontology history'.

1 minute & 16 seconds read time

The fossilized remains of a giant "sea dragon" that once walked the surface of Earth were discovered by a conservationist in February 2021 while doing routine landscaping at the Rutland Water Nature Reserve in England.

Over the course of several weeks, the fossilized remains of the were excavated by paleontologists who were later able to identify that the remains were of an ichthyosaur, an ancient marine reptile that swam and occasionally walked on land during the Triassic period around 250 million years ago. The specimen was found to be almost completely intact and is now the biggest complete Ichthyosaur ever found in Britain.

A team of paleontologists, conservationists, and volunteers safely removed the fossil that ended up having a backbone that stretched 32 feet and included more than 150 individual vertebrae. The fossil was able to remain in almost perfect condition due to it being embedded in clay. Researchers believe that Ichthyosaur would have ranged in size from around 3.3 feet to more than 85 feet in length, and are believed to look similar to a dolphin of today but much larger in size.

Researchers make unprecedented discovery, giant 'sea dragon' found 01

"Our specimen, the Rutland Ichthyosaur or the Rutland Sea Dragon, is the biggest complete Ichthyosaur ever found in Britain in over 200 years of collecting these things scientifically," said paleontologist Dean Lomax who led the excavation of the Rutland Sea Dragon.

"It is a truly unprecedented discovery and one of the greatest finds in British paleontological history," says Lomax, a visiting scientist at the University of Manchester.

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