Sign up FAST! Login

Was this Nessie’s ancestor? Giant prehistoric monster ichthyosaurs roamed Scottish waters...

Stashed in: Science!

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

A giant killer reptile which resembled a dolphin merged with a crocodile once roamed the ancient seas around Scotland:

The new species of ancient sea monster that lived around 170 million years ago has been identified from fossils found on the Isle of Skye.

The dolphin-like creatures were as long as 14 feet from snout to tail, and inhabited warm, shallow seas around Scotland during the Jurassic Period, according to researchers at the University of Edinburgh.

They were near the top of the food chain at the time and preyed on fish and other reptiles.

A team of palaeontologists studied fossil fragments of skulls, teeth, vertebrae and an upper arm bone unearthed on the island over the past 50 years.

They identified several examples of extinct aquatic animals - known as ichthyosaurs - which lived during the Early-to-Middle Jurassic, including the entirely new species.

The new species - Dearcmhara shawcrossi - is named in honour of an amateur enthusiast, Brian Shawcross, who recovered the creature's fossils from the island's Bearreraig Bay in 1959.

Dearcmhara - pronounced 'jark vara' - is Scottish Gaelic for marine lizard, and pays homage to the history of Skye and the Hebrides. The species is one of the few to have ever been given a Gaelic name.

During the Jurassic Period, much of Skye was under water. At the time, it was joined to the rest of the UK and was part of a large island positioned between landmasses that gradually drifted apart and became Europe and North America.

"During the time of dinosaurs, the waters of Scotland were prowled by big reptiles the size of motor boats,” Dr Steve Brusatte, of the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences, who led the study, said:

600 Reddit comments:

You May Also Like: