Researchers announced the finding of the fossil remains of a dolphin-like seagoing reptile on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, which lived approximately 170 million years back and was roughly 14ft long.
The creature, referred to as Dearcmhara shawcrossi, is a member of a group named ichthyosaurs, which were among the aquatic reptiles when dinosaurs ruled the world.
Ichthyosaurs, a few of which reached gigantic sizes contending all but the biggest of today’s whales, flourished for over 150 million years until vanishing approximately 95 million years back.
Dearcmhara, a fairly-sized ichthyosaur, swam in warm, shallow waters during the Jurassic Period, feeding on squids and fish. Its remains are not whole, but a bone’s shape in its front flippers implies it might have been a particularly strong and quick swimmer.
A lot of other aquatic reptile fossils have been discovered in Scotland; however, the largest percentage of these have been sold or vanished into private collections. This latest specimen at last breaks the stalemate: it was discovered by a private collector who did a great thing, donated the specimen to a museum and worked with researchers.
In 1959, Brian Shawcross, who is an Amateur fossil hunter discovered the fossils on a beach in the northern part of the Isle and donated them in the 90s. The species referred to as Dearcmhara is Scottish Gaelic for “marine lizard.” The genus name tributes Schawcross.
Isle of Skye in Scotland
The find sheds light on a period of the Jurassic considered an almost black hole in the aquatic reptile fossil record. Scotland is one of the newest places with fossils dating that time.
Other fossils show Dearcmhara lived beside members of another branch of aquatic reptiles referred to as plesiosaurs, recognized for paddle-like flippers and long necks. The mysterious Nessie is usually depicted as resembling a plesiosaur.
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