Giant 180 million-year-old ‘sea dragon’ ғossιʟ found in UK reservoir

Kane Khanh | Archeaology
August 7, 2023

An English nature reserve has discovered a 33-foot-long “oss” of an ichthyosaur, the biggest UK specimen of a “тo” that roamed the oceans when the dinosaurs were alive.

The largest and most complete fossil of its kind was discovered in the UK, and it is a dragon. It is also believed to be the first specimen of the ichthyosaur species Temnodontosaurus trigonodon discovered in the nation.

The block holding the 6′ (2 m) s’u and surrounding clay alone weighed a ton when raised for conservation and research.

During the normal draining of a lagoon island for re-landscaping in February 2021, Joe Davis, conservation team leader at Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, spotted a dragon.

The discovery, according to Mr. Davis, has been both intriguing and a professional high point. It’s amazing how much we have learned from the finding of this dragon and how this living relic once swam in the waters above us. Rutland Water is now a habitat for wetland creatures once more, but on a lesser scale.

The excavation crew is led by Dr. Dean Lomax, a University of Manchester paleontologist who has researched hundreds of ichthyosaurs. It was a privilege to direct the dig, he remarked. Ichthyosaurs originated in Britain, where their “oss” have been discovered for more than 200 years.

Dr. David Norman, curator of dinosaurs at London’s Natural History Museum, stated in a written statement that the find “is a really unparalleled discovery and one of the greatest finds in British palaeontological history.”

The “oss” is presently being examined and preserved in an undisclosed site in Shropshire, but it will eventually be brought back to Rutland for a long-term exhibit.

The remains of this dragon will feature on BBC Two’s Digging for Britain on Tuesday at 20:00 GMT before being made available on BBC iPlayer.