Thursday, July 12, 2007

Fossil identified

Experts have been busy carefully examining a fossil discovered at the base of Huntcliff and now, after closer inspection, have identified it as an ichthyosaur. Ichthyosaurs were giant marine reptiles that resembled fish and dolphins. Based on fossil evidence, they first appeared 230m years ago and died out about 90m years ago, with their heyday during the Jurassic Period. It’s now hoped to further explore the slate bed on which the fossil was found, with the likelihood that the ichthyosaur’s fossilised head lies beneath the surface. It’s also hoped to get a museum interested in removing and preserving it. The identification was made by members of UKRIGS - UK Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphological Sites. UKRIGS member Denis Goldring said: “You can get an idea of how big it is from the diameter of individual vertebrae. These look as if they are 3-4ins in thickness, which equates to something like 15ft-20ft in total length from nose to the end of its tail.”

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