Jurassic ‘Sea Monster’ Emerges From Scottish Loch

2016-09-06T13:48:57+00:00 September 6, 2016|
An artist's depiction of how the Storr Lochs Monster, a 13-foot-long ichthyosaur, may have looked 170 million years ago. (Credit: University of Edinburgh)

(Click to enlarge) An artist’s depiction of how the Storr Lochs Monster, a 13-foot-long ichthyosaur, may have looked 170 million years ago. (Credit: University of Edinburgh)

More than 50 years after its discovery on Scotland’s Isle of Skye, scientists have unveiled a monster that would make Nessie blush: a 13-foot-long reptile that ruled the seas 170 million years ago.

(From National Geographic / by Michael Greshko)– The fossil, dubbed the Storr Lochs Monster, is a nearly intact skeleton of an ichthyosaur, a family of extinct marine reptiles that lived alongside the dinosaurs. The creatures were the dolphins of their time: fast swimmers with long, narrow snouts and cone-shaped teeth perfect for eating squid and fish.

Discovered by an amateur fossil collector, the Storr Lochs specimen is the most complete marine reptile ever recovered in Scotland from the age of dinosaurs. Yet for decades, the skeleton remained in storage because it was entombed in extremely hard rock.

Now, a partnership between the University of Edinburgh, National Museums Scotland, and energy company SSE has allowed paleontologists to expertly free the skeleton from its stony casing. On September 5, the freshly exposed remains made their triumphant public debut.

“Although some people think that sea monsters live here today in our lakes, there were actually real ones that lived here over a hundred million years ago,” says Stephen Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh, one of the lead researchers analyzing the fossil.

Read the full article here: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/09/storr-lochs-sea-monster-jurassic-fossil-paleontology-science/#close