(ORDO NEWS) — Ichthyosaurs are ancient marine predators that were larger than modern blue whales. The largest individual, or rather its remains, were found near Bristol.
Bones of a giant prehistoric aquatic reptile have been discovered in England. Archaeologists claim that they belong to an ichthyosaur, a large animal that lived on Earth about 205 million years ago. An adult, according to research, could reach a length of 26 meters, that is, it was the size of a modern blue whale.
The remains of ichthyosaurs have been found around the world in a variety of places. They reigned in the oceans of the early Triassic and late Cretaceous, being the most formidable marine predators of those years.
The bones of the individual were found an hour’s drive from Bristol and allowed scientists to evaluate not only individual limbs, but the entire reptile as a whole. The researchers note that this particular ichthyosaur was a colossus even among its relatives.
Study co-author and fossil hunter Paul de la Salle made his first discovery in 2016 on Lilstock Beach, about 50 miles from Bristol. At first, he thought it was just old rock, but after carefully examining the lines and bulges, he came to the conclusion that in front of him was a huge fossil that could be part of the jaw of an ancient predator.
He called in two experts to excavate: Dean Lomax of the University of Manchester and Judy Massaret of SUNY College in Brockport, New York. They compared the find with another ichthyosaur fossil recently found in Canada and concluded that the specimen was 25% larger than its congener.
That is, its length exceeded 32.5 meters. This is a third of a football field, or, for example, the length of two road trains, or almost three railway cars!
The discovery may also shed light on another, much older mystery: in 1850, dinosaur bones were found near the town of Aust, also near Bristol. Scientists believed that they belonged to terrestrial creatures (stegosaurus or sauropod), but perhaps these were also the remains of an ichthyosaur.
Contact us: [email protected]