New “Sea Dragon” Discovered by Amateur Fossil Hunter on the English Channel

An artist’s impression of Thalassodraco etches, a new sea dragon in the Late Jurassic. Credit: Megan Jacobs

An amateur fossil hunter has found a new prehistoric ‘sea dragon’ on the beach of Dorset, England.

2 meters long new ichthyosaurus, collecting fossils Dr. Steve Etches called it ‘Etches sea dragon’ after discovering that MBE was first buried in limestone. Ichthyosaurs are usually called sea dragons with very large teeth and eyes.

He passed his teeth by specialists because he thought his teeth were unusual University of Portsmouth identify.

Megan Jacobs, a master’s student who worked on ichthyosaur there for several years, identified it as a new species and species that lived 150 million years ago.

The find is the fifth ichthyosaur of England known from the Late Jurassic period and the smallest to date.

The study is published in an online journal PLOS ONE.

The Sea Dragon erodes the Thalassodraco Fossil

Photograph of the sea dragon (Thalassodraco etches) fossil (MJML K1885). Credit: The Etches Collection, Dorset, UK

An example was found in a limestone known as the white stone strip near Kimmeridge Bay, which is included in the World Heritage List of the Jurassic Coast. When he died, the seabed would have a very mild acne, allowing the front half of the animal to sink into the mud before the scavengers came and ate the tip of the tail.

Burial in a soft acne bed meant protecting it in an exceptional condition and even protecting some soft tissues.

Megan said: “The skeletons of the Late Jurassic ichthyosaurs in England are extremely rare, so after doing a little research, it was very exciting to compare them with what is known from other Jurassic Jurassic deposits around the world and not find a match.

“The Thalassodraco etchesi is a well-preserved ichthyosaur, made even more interesting by its soft tissue protection.

“There are many new and exciting animals in Steve’s incredible collection, and it was a real privilege to give him a chance to describe this ichthyosaur.”

Ichthyosaurs were highly adapted marine predators with an aerodynamic body for sliding in the water, incredibly large eyes for extended vision, and elongated jaws filled with conical teeth that were very suitable for catching slippery fish and squid.

The Thalassodraco has a deep rib, small forelegs and hundreds of small, fine, smooth teeth.

David Steve, a professor of vertebrate paleontology at the University of Portsmouth, said: “Although Steve is an exceptional fossil collector and is sometimes referred to as an amateur collector, he has done so much for paleontology that he has been awarded. MBE and is truly a supporter.

“If it weren’t for collectors like Steve, there would be very few examples that scientists can work on.”

Once the new sea dragon is named, it will begin to study its biology.

Professor Martill said: “There are a number of things that make this animal special, none of which are unusual rib cages and small fins. It can swim in a different style than other ichthyosaurs. ”

For example, Dr. At the Etches Museum in Dorset, many of his discoveries in a lifetime of fossil hunting are on display, along with many other fossils at the Etches Collection Museum, which he founded to host.

Dr. Etches said: “I am delighted to discover that this ichthyosaur is new to science and I am very honored to have my name on it.

“The discovery of new ichthyosaur species is still remarkable, which shows how diverse the incredible animals are in the Late Jurassic seas.”

The Thalassodraco etchesi is closely related to Nannopterygius, a genus widespread in Europe, Russia and the Arctic.

Ichthyosaurs were, for the most part, highly successful marine reptiles living in the seas Mesozoic, appeared about 248 million years ago Trias period and end is extinct Chalk about 90 million years ago.

Some of the last surviving ichthyosaurs were found on chalk on Wight Island, but the first scientifically described specimens were found in the Early Jurassic rocks in the Lyme Regis by Mary Anning in the early 19th century.

The largest ichthyosaurs date back to the Triassic period of North America, some with a skull length of about five meters – 10 times larger than the skull of this new discovery.

To learn more about this research, read that there are new species of Prehistoric “Sea Dragon” Discovered on the English Channel.

Reference: “British Dorset from the Upper Jurassic (Early Titanic) Kimmeridge Clay with effects on new ophthalmosaurid ichthyosaur, late Jurassic ichthyosaur diversity” Megan L. Jacobs and David M. Martill, 9 December 2020, PLOS ONE.
DOI: 10.1371 / journal.pone.0241700

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