Skeleton of 33-foot-long sea dragon discovered

Paleontologist. Photo credit Getty Images
By , Audacy

In central England, the remains of a giant Jurassic sea creature were found by paleontologists. The researchers shared that it is "very well-preserved" and a massive discovery, according to the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust.

The fossil is said to be the "paleontological discovery of a lifetime" after it was found at the Rutland Water Nature Reserve in February 2021.

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During a routine draining procedure for re-landscaping, a member of the water conservation for the trust, Joe Daivs, just happened to find it.

Davis said in a statement that he thought he was looking at clay pipes sticking out of the mud. However, he said that "they looked organic," with one colleague saying it appeared to be vertebrae.

As they got closer to examine what they had unearthed, they saw "what indisputably looked like a spine" and a jawbone at the end of the spine.

When the two saw what they were looking at, Davis says they "couldn't quite believe it."

"The find has been absolutely fascinating and a real career highlight. It's great to learn so much from the discovery and to think that this amazing creature was once swimming in seas above us," Davis said.

In August and September, the fossil was excavated and has been identified as an ichthyosaur, a marine reptile that resembled a dolphin in ways.

As for the size and age of this creature, researchers said it is nearly 33 feet long and roughly 180 million years old—the skull alone measures more than 6½ feet long.

According to the BBC, Davis said that the fossil was "very well-preserved, better than I think we could have all imagined."

One expert on the creature, Dean Lomax, shared with CBS News that the fossil was the "largest ichthyosaur skeleton ever discovered in Britain."

Lomax said the creature first appeared in the Triassic period around 250 million years ago. He shared that the Ichthyosaur, or the "Rutland Sea Dragon" as they are calling it, is the biggest one found in Britain in over 200 years.

However, for this getting excited, Lomax clarified that Ichthyosaurs are not swimming dinosaurs.

Researchers working on the fossil remains are also putting together an academic paper about the findings.

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