A 170 million year old fossil has been found and named on the Scottish Isle of Skye. The marine reptile has been named Dearcmhara shawcrossi, Gaelic origin. The reptile measures 14ft long and likely hunted fish and other reptiles in the shallows off of the Jurassic Period Scotland.
The team of palaeontologists from the University of Edinburgh have had the fossils for 50 years, but just recently figured out that it was a different species, not an Ichthyosaurus.
Dr Steve Brusatte, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, who led the study, said:
“During the time of dinosaurs, the waters of Scotland were prowled by big reptiles the size of motor boats.
“Their fossils are very rare, and only now, for the first time we’ve found a new species that was uniquely Scottish.”
“Without the generosity of the collector who donated the bones to a museum instead of keeping them or selling them, we would have never known that this amazing animal existed.”
Discoveries like this are important because they show us just how diverse and interesting our distant past was. We can link amazing species from then to today often times, when we look at evolutionary patterns.