An 11-year-old girl helps discover the largest reptile ever

It was the largest reptile to ever roam the Earth’s oceans. At about 82 feet tall, this giant ichthyosaur was roughly the size of a blue whale, a marine mammal and the largest animal known to have existed at any time in the planet’s history. However, the ichthyosaur is called… Ichthyotitan severensisIt went largely unnoticed until an 11-year-old girl and her father spotted a unique fossil during a walk along a beach in southwest England during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in May 2020. The fossil is four inches long, which someone revealed, says amateur fossil hunter Justin Reynolds, said the fossils she carried up the beach were “larger than any piece of bone she had ever found before.” NPR.

His daughter, Ruby, kept her eyes on the ground and soon found a larger, better-preserved fossil. “It was just kind of lying there” half-buried in the mud, she told NPR. The two fossils pointed to an unknown species of ichthyosaur, an order of large, extinct marine reptiles. This type was described in a study published last month in One plus, which 15-year-old Ruby co-authored, lived about 202 million years ago, near the end of the Triassic. The study’s lead author, Dean Lomax, a paleontologist at the Universities of Bristol and Manchester, had previously seen just a hint of… Ichthyotitan severensis In the fossils found by his friend Paul de La Salle, another amateur fossil collector who is credited with the discovery.

De La Salle’s fossils, collected a short distance from other fossils in 2016, formed what Lomax identified as part of an ichthyosaur jawbone. explore. in 2018 studyThe pair noted that the fossils “may represent the largest ichthyosaurs currently known.” Two years later, Reynolds and Ruby contacted each other, claiming that their fossils were identical. “They were absolutely right,” Lomax told NPR. More fossils have been collected from Blue Anchor Beach in Somerset, allowing the species, whose complete lower jaw bone was at least seven feet long, to be identified, per Smithsonian. The full estimated size of the reptile is extrapolated from it. But Lomax hopes that after the latest discovery, “perhaps one day a complete skull or skeleton will be found…” launch. (More discovery stories.)

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