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Huge ‘sea dragon’ fossil found in English water reservoir

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The fossilized remains of an ichthyosaur have been found in England's Midlands, the largest and most complete of its kind discovered in the U.K.

The fossilized remains of an ichthyosaur have been found in England's Midlands, the largest and most complete of its kind discovered in the U.K., according to a news release issued by Anglian Water.

Ichthyosaurs were large marine reptiles similar in shape to dolphins, but they grew up to lengths of 25 metres.

The 10-metre long fossil, nicknamed the "Rutland Sea Dragon," was discovered in February 2021 in Rutland Water, about 160 kilometres northwest of London. It is thought to be 180 million years old.

This is an artist's reconstruction of the fossil, nicknamed the "Rutland Sea Dragon."(Bob Nicholls/Anglian Water)

A conservationist at Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, Joe Davis, found the ichthyosaur during a routine draining of a lagoon island for re-landscaping.

"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.

Known as sea dragons due to having large eyes and teeth, ichthyosaurs went extinct around 90 million years ago.

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