Ichthyosaur fossil, Dinosaurland Fossil Museum, Lyme Regis, Dorset, England
© Christopher Jones/Alam
Info. An ichthyosaur fossil, Dinosaurland Fossil Museum, Lyme Regis, England
We’re looking at the fossil of an ichthyosaur at the Dinosaurland Fossil Museum in Lyme Regis, on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, England. The word 'ichthyosaur' means 'fish lizard', an appropriate name for the large extinct marine reptiles that swam the oceans from around 250 million years ago and survived until about 90 million years ago.
English palaeontologist Mary Anning discovered the first ichthyosaur in the cliffs of Lyme Regis in 1811 when she was just 12 years old. She uncovered the complete 5.2-metre-skeleton near her home after her brother Joseph had found the creature’s skull. Mary went on to make more remarkable discoveries in her life, including a long-necked marine reptile called a plesiosaur and a flying reptile called a Dimorphodon, which was the first pterosaur found outside Germany.