What is it about?

A description of a new ichthyosaur, Thalassodraco etchesi. This is a new and unusual Late Jurassic ichthyosaur, with large boney protuberances on the top of the head, and over 280 tiny teeth. This 2 metre long marine reptile inhabited the Late Jurassic seas in the UK some 150 million years ago. Upon its death, it sank to the seafloor where it was partially buried in oozy sediment. This led to a very high level of preservation, including ossified ligament and internal organs.

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Why is it important?

This discovery adds to the diversity of ichthyosaurs in the Kimmeridge Clay Formation and emphasises the important contribution of private collectors in palaeontology.


Writing this article was a pleasure, as it allowed me to honor Dr. Steve Etches, who has worked tirelessly to build an extraordinary collection of Kimmeridge Clay fossils. This ichthyosaur has an incredible level of preservation, and being able to share this in the scientific community, whilst raising awareness of the importance of fossil collecting here in the UK was a great experience.

Megan Lucy Jacobs
University of Portsmouth

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A new ophthalmosaurid ichthyosaur from the Upper Jurassic (Early Tithonian) Kimmeridge Clay of Dorset, UK, with implications for Late Jurassic ichthyosaur diversity, PLoS ONE, December 2020, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0241700.
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