House Of The Sea Dragon: Naturalist Finds Ichthyosaur Fossil In England

By Stephen M

A landscaping activity in February 2021 led to the discovery of a huge fossil of an Ichthyosaur. The 10-meter-long fossil of the sea predator was found around the Rutland Water Nature Reserve reservoir. This has become the largest Ichthyosaur fossil found in the UK!

According to the naturalist, he saw the unusual thing showing out of the mud during the landscaping work in the area. According to the man, he called the city council to let them know of his discovery, but they had no trained staff for this type of situation.

Soon after, the council sent a team of experts to analyze the fossil.

Photo credit: Matthew Power Photography / University of Manchester

After the examination, they concluded it was an Ichthyosaur, a species of warm-blooded and air-breathing sea mammal that inhabited the planet millions of years ago and could grow up to 25 meters.

Excavation Efforts

A paleontologist led the excavation effort. He referred to the discovery as unprecedented due to its huge size and because it was intact. The specialist mentioned how these kinds of fossils are usually found on the coasts, so this discovery was pretty unusual because the fossil was on the land!

Photo credit: ANGLIAN WATER

The excavators paid special attention to the skull. It was trapped in a large block of clay and needed to be carefully dug out. Afterward, they covered it in plaster and placed it on wooden splints. Weighing more than one tone, it is set for further examination.

A palaeontological conservator said that the task of lifting a fragile fossil head was challenging, but he’d never pass up on the opportunity.

In an interview with BBC News, the naturalist that found the fossil mentioned that he thought the fossil was just a bunch of stones until he noticed a jawline-like shape. And the funniest part is that nobody believed him when he said he’d found a dinosaur fossil!