Prehistoric 33-Foot-Long “Sea Dragon” Fossil Found in UK Reservoir
A long lost relative of Nessie the Loch Ness Monster may have surfaced in the UK. A real life sea dragon known as an ichthyosaur was recently discovered in a drained portion of a reservoir in Rutland, England. The fossil measures an impressive 10 meters long (approximately 33 feet long), with a heavy head and powerful jaw. It dates to the Jurassic Period and is the largest, most important find of its kind in the UK.
The reservoir lies about 100 miles above London in a landlocked region. It is operated by Anglian Water and the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, both of whom have documented the exciting “mega-find.” The prehistoric reptile emerged from the reservoir waters as they were drained for maintenance. A worker noticed what looked like a vertebrae poking out from the ground. Paleontologist Dean Lomax was soon on the scene. “It’s the most complete and larger than any dinosaur skeleton ever found here, so it’s a mega-find for so many reasons,” said the paleontologist.
While smaller fossils of the dinosaur were discovered in the region in the 1970s, this new find is a mighty dragon indeed. The fossil, which is just under 33 feet in length has a 6-foot-long skull and weighs over a ton. The warm-blooded ichthyosaur roamed 180 million years ago and breathed air. It would have looked relatively similar to an enormous, ferocious dolphin. Lomax notes, “During this time period, it would have been right at the top of the food chain. It’s an ultimate apex predator, perhaps one of the biggest animals in the sea worldwide.”
Next time you’re in the UK looking for mysterious sea monsters, travel south from Scotland and poke around Rutland. Who knows, you may just discover a monster of epochs past. In the meantime, the sea dragon fossil will be excavated, cleaned, preserved, and eventually displayed to the public within the next two years.
A real-life sea dragon known as an ichthyosaur was recently discovered in a drained portion of a reservoir in Rutland, England.
The giant dinosaur was an apex predator in the Jurassic period who swam but also breathed air.
h/t: [NBC News]