During routine maintenance on a British nature reserve, the remains of a massive prehistoric reptile were discovered. The creature, which lived during the Jurassic Period around 180 million years ago, coexisted with the dinosaurs.
An enormous ichthyosaur fossil, measuring 33 feet in length and believed to be the largest of its kind found in the UK, was uncovered during routine maintenance on an English nature reserve. This ichthyosaur is a predator from the dinosaur era that lived in the water.
The discovery of a dragon-like fossil has caused quite a stir among scientists in the United Kingdom. The fossil, which is the largest and most complete of its kind ever found in the UK, is believed to be that of a Temnodontosaurus trigonodon - a species of ichthyosaur that was prevalent during the Jurassic period. The block containing the massive 2-meter cranium and the surrounding clay weighed a ton when it was first lifted for conservation and examination.
In February 2021, Joe Davis, a conservation team leader, discovered a dragon fossil while emptying a lagoon island for re-landscaping.
Mr. Davis said: "A colleague of mine and I were walking along and I looked down and saw this series of ridges in the mud."
"There was something there that was different ― it had organic features where it connects to the rib. That's when we thought we needed to call someone and find out what's happening."
"It turned out to be very well preserved ― better than I think we all could have imagined really."
He further said: "The find has been fascinating and a real career highlight. It's great to learn so much from the discovery of this dragon and to think that this living fossil swam in seas above us. Now, once again, Rutland Water is a haven for wetland wildlife, albeit on a smaller scale."
Dr. Dean Lomax, a paleontologist at the University of Manchester, led the team that discovered the 33-foot-long ichthyosaur fossil and has extensive experience researching the extinct marine predator. He said: "It was an honor to lead the excavation. Ichthyosaurs were born in Britain, and their fossils have been discovered here for over 200 years."
According to Dr. David Norman, Curator of Dinosaurs at London's Natural History Museum, in a statement he wrote, "It is a truly unprecedented discovery and one of the greatest finds in British palaeontological history."
The discovered ichthyosaur fossil is currently being studied and preserved in Shropshire, with plans for it to eventually be returned to Rutland for public display.