FROM THE EDUCATION DESK
Hello summer! We have had some very welcome rain for our area last week. It rained a little every afternoon while the mornings and late afternoon were sunny and beautiful. Weather report says that is probably what will happen this week also.
Rare ichthyosaur found in private collection
Discovered by University of Manchester paleontologist Dean Lomax, this fossil is only the second example of Wahlisaurus massarae ever found. It was originally found in 1996 and has now been donated to the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. The name was in honor of two of Lomax’s colleagues and mentors Bill Wahl and Prof. Judy Massare. Ichthyosaurs were a type of sea going reptile that lived during the time of the dinosaurs.
In 2016, Lomax described an ichthyosaur skeleton in which he spotted several unusual features of the bones and determined that they were unique and represented a new species. This discovery is from a time known as the Triassic-Jurassic boundary, right after a world wide mass extinction. It is roughly 200 million years old. Lomax teamed up with Dr. Mark Evans, paleontologist and Simon Carpenter for more studies on the first specimen. Dr. Evans cleaned the bones and removed additional rock from the first specimen. This resulted in a detailed re-examination of the original skull, which led to the discovery of additional bones. This has provided a better understanding of the skull structure.
Lomax added, “The discovery of the new specimen in a private collection helps to recognize the important contribution of dedicated and responsible fossil collectors. I am especially grateful to Simon for donating the specimen and collecting all of the data available with the specimen when he found it.”
Story Source: Materials provided by University of Manchester