Madrid, 10 (European Press)
The fossilized remains of Britain’s largest ichthyosaur, known as the ‘sea dragon’, have been discovered in Rutland Water Nature Reserve.
It is the largest and most complete skeleton of its kind ever found in the UK and is also believed to be the first ichthyosaur of its kind (called Temnodontosaurus trigonodon) found in the country.
The ichthyosaur was discovered by Joe Davis, Leicestershire Conservation Team Leader and Rutland Wildlife Trust, during the routine drainage of a lake island to remodel the Rutland Water landscape in February 2021.
The ichthyosaur is about 180 million years old, and with a skeleton about 10 meters long and a skull weighing about a ton, it is the largest large ichthyosaur ever found in Britain.
Ichthyosaurs first appeared about 250 million years ago and became extinct 90 million years ago. It was an unusual group of marine reptiles ranging in size from 1 to more than 25 meters, resembling dolphins in general body shape.
The fragile remains of the massive skeleton were carefully excavated in August and September 2021 by a team of expert paleontologists led by Dean Lomax, a global ichthyosaur expert, and conservative paleontologist Nigel Larkin.