A 180 million-year-old’sea dragon’ skeleton has been discovered in a UK reservoir

A 33ft-long ichthyosaur ichthyosaur, the UK’s largest example of a sea-roaming tiger in the age of the dinosaurs, has been discovered at a nature reserve in the UK.

This dragon is the largest, most complete fossil of its kind found in the United Kingdom. It is also believed to be the first shark of its specific species (Temnodontosaurus trigonodon) to be found in the water.

When raised for conservation and study, the 6ft (2m) container and surrounding clay weighed one ton.

In February 2021, Joe Davis, conservation team leader at Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, spotted a dragon during the periodic draining of a lagoon island to regenerate the landscape.

“The discovery is fascinating and a real career highlight,” said Mr. Davis. It’s great to learn so much from the discovery of this dragon and to think that this living fossil swam in the seas above us.

Dr Dean Lomax, a paleontologist at the University of Manchester, has studied thousands of ichthyosaurs and led the excavation team. “It was an honor to lead the excavation,” he said. England is the birthplace of ichthyosaurs – their ғoss has been unearthed here for more than 200 years.

“It’s a truly unprecedented discovery and one of the greatest in the history of British paleontology,” said Dr David Norman, curator of dinosaurs at the History Museum. Natural London, said in a written statement.

Ғossιʟ is currently being studied and preserved at an undisclosed location in Shropshire, but it is expected to be returned to Rutland for permanent display.

The remains of the dragon will be posted on BBC Two’s Digging for Britain on Tuesday at 20:00 GMT before being published on BBC iPlayer.

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