Newly Discovered: Britain’s Largest Ever, Near-Complete Reptile Fossil

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Naturalists Accidentally Discover Britain’s Largest Ever, Near-Complete Marine Reptile Fossil

by Margaret Osbourne/Smithsonianmag.com

During routine maintenance at Rutland Water Nature Reserve in England, naturalist Joe Davis noticed something strange sticking out of the mud. At first, his colleague Paul Trevor, who also works at the reserve, thought it was a pipe. After closer inspection, they realized it was a large skeleton.

“We followed what indisputably looked like a spine and Paul [Trevor] discovered something further along that could have been a jawbone,” Davis, who is the conservation team leader at Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, tells Live Science’s Patrick Pester. “We couldn’t quite believe it.”

Davis took photos of the bones and contacted paleontologist Dean Lomax at the University of Manchester.

“I immediately recognized them as ichthyosaur vertebrae,” Lomax, who led the excavation project, tells the New York Times’ Neil Vigdor. “He had found this so serendipitously.”

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Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master's of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator. She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen - one daughter-in-law; Katie - two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia - and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with her husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescues.