Scottish paleontologists have discovered the ancient sea monster of your nightmares.
The large reptile, an Ichthyosaur, lived in Scotland’s Isle of Skye some 170 million years ago. This is the same area of the world that captivated people with stories of a loch ‘monster’ for decades. A cousin?
The creature — which was 4.3 metres long — is called Dearcmhara shawcrossi. It had dolphin-like features and lived for more than 150 million years, disappearing about 95 million years ago.
According to scientists, it is the first uniquely Scottish marine reptile ever discovered and studied.
Many other marine reptile fossils have been found in Scotland, but the vast majority of these have disappeared into private collections or been sold. This new specimen finally breaks the impasse: it was found by a private collector who did a great thing, donated it to a museum and worked with scientists.
It’s believed the giant jurassic dolphin lived alongside another large reptile called plesiosaurs – the animal which bears a strong resemblance to the famed Loch Ness monster. So did we find a cousin of the strange creature?
A complete paper on the findings has been published in the Scottish Journal of Geology.