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New 'sea dragon' fossil found in the UK

By Emily Taylor, Year 8

Not long ago, in the Rutland Water Nature Reserve, East Midlands, UK, the most complete fossil of an Ichthyosaur has been discovered. This new fossil was found by Joe Davis who works at the nature reserve. He discovered the fossil when he was doing a routine draining of a lagoon island for re-landscaping.

Image: BBC News

The Ichthyosaur fossil is around 33 feet long (10 meters) which means that it is the largest prehistoric sea creature of this species found in Britain. These massive creatures would have been one of the apex predators of the ocean, and would have hunted the waters around 180 million years ago! The ichthyosaurs ate squid, fish, and others sea mammals.

The first fossil of an ichthyosaur was found on the Jurassic cost on in the south of England around 200 years ago. It was found by Mary Anning, one of the greatest fossil hunters who ever lived! She discovered the fossil when she was just 12 years old, and it took her several months to fully dig up the fossil from the ground. However, at 5.2 meters long, this fossil is small compared to the newest discovery!

The ichthyosaur went extinct 90 million years ago which means any fossil of an Ichthyosaur fossil is at least 90 million years old.

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