Palaeontologists working on the Ichthyosaur skeleton found at Rutland Water August 26 2021 Matthew Power Photography www.matthewpowerphotography.co.uk 07969 088655 [email protected] @mpowerphoto
A team of paleontologists has discovered the largest and most complete ichthyosaur skeleton ever found in the UK in the Rutland Water Nature Reserve. It is a dinosaur of the Temnodontosaurus trigonodon species, which is why it was also the first to be discovered in the country.
With a length of 10 meters and a skull that weighs a ton, this ichthyosaur lived precisely 180 million years ago on the planet. According to the NGO Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, it was a marine reptile with a body identical to that of dolphins, which could measure up to 25 meters in length. The group became extinct 90 million years ago.
The dinosaur was discovered in February 2021, while draining a lagoon in the Reserve. As Joe Davis, conservation team coordinator for the Rutland Water Nature Reserve, explains, he and colleague Paul Trevor spotted something coming out of the mud. “I worked in the Hebrides [Archipelago in Scotland], so I’ve found skeletons of whales and dolphins. This looked similar and I commented to Paul that it looked like vertebrae. We followed what indisputably appeared to be a pimple and Paul discovered something further along that could be a jawbone. We could hardly believe it,” he reveals.
Two ichthyosaurs had already been discovered during the construction of the Reserve in the 1970s. However, the specimens found were smaller and their skeletons were incomplete.
“Rutland Water has a long list of fascinating past archaeological and paleontological discoveries, but none is more exciting than this one,” says Peter Simpson, CEO of Anglian Water.
Excavations to remove the fossils took place in August and September and resulted from a partnership between Anglian Water, Rutland County Council, and Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust.
Source: with agencies