While the fossilized remains of dinosaurs are found all across the world, they are not found in England with anything like the same regularity. However, a landscaping event in February of 2021 led to an English naturalist finding the remains of not just a dinosaur, but an ichthyosaur. That is a hugely important fossilized remain to find in England.
Add in the fact it was around 10 meters in length, too, and it was a truly outstanding discovery. The sea predator was found near the Rutland Water Reserve’s reservoir. This is also comfortably the largest fossil of this species to be found in the United Kingdom, so it was a landmark discovery.
The naturalist said that he noticed something that was popping out of the mud that looked unusual, to say the least. As he carried out some landscaping work, the jutting object made him look closer. He called out the local city council to have a look and then the discovery was made clear with the help of a team of experts.
The conclusion was that it was indeed an ichthyosaur, a huge finding for this part of the world. Given they could grow to be as large as 25 meters, though, this 10m equivalent was only a ‘small’ one compared to what you can find in other parts of the world. Still, finding the fossil of a giant air-breathing sea creature is a truly special find – especially for someone who was just out and about doing some landscaping!
Excavation efforts were carried out soon, and excavation teams were shocked to find one of these creatures so far from the sea. At first, the naturalist assumed it was just a stone or rock formation. To find something so unique out in the middle of the open, though? That must feel pretty amazing for anyone who has even a passing interest in our natural history.