An incredible find happened in the Eastern Midlands Region of England. Paleontologists found the remains of an ichthyosaur.
Surely you have heard of the Kraken, the huge marine beast that devours ships and sailors. Although we find it fascinating, this creature is only part of mythology; that is to say, it does not exist. Or at least we have not yet found evidence to the contrary.
However, there are other sea monsters that did once exist on our planet and the skeleton of one was recently found; it is the ichthyosaur; a huge fish that lived millions of years ago.
Joe Davis , conservation team leader at the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust was the first person to discover the remains. The team was routinely draining a lagoon when this gigantic fossil suddenly appeared.
This happened in February 2021 , during August and September of the same year, they carefully excavated the remains and finally revealed the news a few days ago.
From the tip of its snout to its tail, this ichthyosaur is thirty feet long; only its colossal head measures two meters. It weighs almost a ton and is considered to be the largest and most complete fossil of this species to be discovered in Britain.
According to Dr. Dean Lomax, an ichthyosaur paleontologist; this is an unprecedented finding. He mentioned the following in a statement:
"To put this find in context for the public, in the world of British paleontology, the discovery is like finding a complete Tyrannosaurus rex in [Badlans National Park, USA], only this Jurassic giant was found in a nature reserve. in Rutland, of all places"
The fossil recovery work lasted more than 14 days and required the help of many expert hands. The first thing the experts did was painstakingly document the remains with thousands of photographs and a technique called photogrammetry, which allowed them to form a 3D model of the specimen.
Clay samples taken around the fossil reveal that it belonged to the Jurassic period. Which suggests that this ichthyosaur lived approximately 182 million years ago.
The species inhabited the oceans of our planet from 250 million years to 90 million years ago; during the Triassic, Jurassic and early Cretaceous periods. The person who discovered this species was the English paleontologist Mary Anning , at the beginning of the 19th century.
If you want to piss off Mary and Dr. Lomax and all the paleontologists in the world, say that the ichthyosaur is a dinosaur. Although his name seems to relate him to this family; the sea creature is a far cry from dinosaurs.
Actually, the ichthyosaur is thought to have evolved from a group of land reptiles that returned to the sea. Although they physically resemble dolphins or whales, they are also not related; this is due to a process known as convergent evolution.
In this type of evolution, distantly related species develop characteristics similar to each other to adapt to similar environments.
This makes the ichthyosaur even more interesting and we hope that with this find, more can be discovered about the extraordinary creature, so we will be eager to see what new information paleontologists share with us.