An employee of the Rutland Water Nature Reserve, in England, he found by chance the fossil of a huge 'sea dragon' (an ichthyosaur), as revealed this Monday the British public broadcaster BBC. Joe Davis explained to the aforementioned channel, which broadcasts a program dedicated to the discovery on Tuesday, that at first he called the local council to tell them that he had found "a dinosaur" while doing his job in February of last year.
Finally, what he had seen was not a dinosaur, but the fossilized remains of a huge marine predator, called an ichthyosaur, 10 meters long, and the largest specimen ever found in the United Kingdom.
"I looked down at what looked like stones or ridges in the mud and I thought it looked like something organic, a little different. Then I saw something that looked like a jaw," Davis explained to the BBC.
After the man's call to the town hall, a team of paleontologists traveled to the area, who concluded that the fossil belonged to an ichthyosaur, a species that can grow up to 25 meters long and that lived between 250 and 90 million years ago. .
Dean Lomax, a paleontologist at the University of Manchester, called the find "truly unprecedented" due to its size and called it "one of the great discoveries in the history of British paleontology."
"We generally think that ichthyosaurs and other marine reptiles are discovered by the Jurassic coast in Dorset or the Yorkshire coast, where many are exposed by the erosion of the cliffs. Here in an inland location it is very rare," said the expert. quoted channel.
Rutland is almost 50 kilometers from the coast, although 200 million years ago the area was covered by water.
Ichthyosaurs evolved from a terrestrial ancestor that returned to the sea. They lived exclusively in water. The first ichthyosaur to be known to science was discovered in 1811 and 1812 by Mary and Joseph Anning, at Lyme Regis, Dorset, along the so-called 'Jurassic Coast'. Ichthyosaurs are a specialized group of marine reptiles that lived in water while dinosaurs walked the land. They are not swimming dinosaurs.