Massive 30ft ‘dragon fossil’ found in UK is ‘best ever’ at 180 million-years-old

Massive bones of an ancient 'sea dragon' have been found in the Midlands — and are being hailed as some of the "best" bones ever dug up in Britain.

The skeleton of the ichthyosaur is approximately 180 million-years-old, with its skeleton being around 10 metres (32 feet) in length and its skull weighing around a tonne, according to The Mirror.

It made Joe Davis and Rutland Wildlife Trust's joint find one of the biggest and most complete fossils to ever have been unearthed in the UK.

The creature, comparable to a dolphin in appearance with larger teeth and eyes, was discovered during the team's dig at a lagoon in Rutland Water, Rutland.

Their large features have earned them he name 'sea dragon' among enthusiasts.

The long-extinct creatures were first rediscovered by English fossil collector and palaeontologist Mary Anning in the early 1800s.

Dr Dean Lomax, who has spent years studying the species, said: “Despite the many ichthyosaur fossils found in Britain, it is remarkable to think that the Rutland ichthyosaur is the largest skeleton ever found in the UK.

“It is a truly unprecedented discovery and one of the greatest finds in British paleontological history.”

Having been involved with the dig, Dr Mark Evans of the British Antarctic Survey said: “I’ve been studying the Jurassic fossil reptiles of Rutland and Leicestershire for over 20 years.

“When I first saw the initial exposure of the specimen with Joe Davis I could tell that it was the largest ichthyosaur known from either county.

“However, it was only after our exploratory dig that we realised that it was practically complete to the tip of the tail.

“It’s a highly significant discovery both nationally and internationally but also of huge importance to the people of Rutland and the surrounding area.”

Ichthyosaurs were 'apex predators' at the top of their food chain, and roamed the ocean hunting smaller prehistoric creatures.

Remains of early cephalopods, a family of species which includes molluscs, octopuses and squid, have been found as preserved gut contents in previous excavations.

They are believed to have gone extinct 95 million years ago due to ecological changes, which affected availability of prey.

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