The ”sea dragon” belongs to a group that swam the world’s
oceans 200 million years ago, while dinosaurs walked the
The specimen is the largest Ichthyosaurus to be described, at
more than three metres long.
It was discovered on the coast of England more than 20 years
ago, but has remained unstudied until now.
Palaeontologist Sven Sachs saw the fossil on display at a
museum in Hannover. He contacted UK palaeontologist, Dean
Lomax, who is an expert on Ichthyosaurs.
”It amazes me that specimens such as this [the biggest] can
still be ‘rediscovered’ in museum collections,” said the
University of Manchester palaeontologist.
”You don’t necessarily have to go out in the field to make a
The reptile belongs to the species, Ichthyosaurus
somersetensis , which is named after the county in south west
England where many ancient marine reptile specimens have
It was dug up at Doniford Bay, Somerset, in the 1990s and
eventually found its way into the collections of the Lower
Saxony State Museum in Hannover.
The reptile was an adult female that was pregnant at the time