The remain of Britain’s largest ichthyosaur (fish-shaped marine reptiles) has been discovered during routine maintenance work at Rutland Water Nature Reserve, near Egleton, in Rutland.
Measuring around 10 metres in length, the ichthyosaur is approximately 180 million years old.
Appearing as dolphin skeleton, the enormous marine-reptile’s almost complete skeleton comprising of vertebrae, spine and jawbone was excavated early last year. It is the biggest and most complete skeleton of its kind found to date in the UK.
Known commonly as ‘Sea dragon’, ichthyosaurs were enormous, fish-shaped marine reptiles that lived in seas in the dinosaur-era.
Looking like dolphins in general body shape, ichthyosaurs varied in length from 1 to more than 25 metres and appeared around 250 million years ago and became extinct 90 million years ago.
Earlier in 1970s, two incomplete and much smaller ichthyosaur remains were discovered in Rutland Water.
- Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. Britain’s largest ‘Sea Dragon’ discovered in UK’s smallest county. Posted 10 January 2022. Available at https://www.lrwt.org.uk/seadragon
- Anglian Water Services. Rutland Sea Dragon. Available at https://www.anglianwater.co.uk/community/rutland-sea-dragon