More Superb Ichthyosaur Material from Lyme Regis

A few months ago, whilst perusing a tides timetable that a colleague had picked up whilst visiting Dorset, we realised that there were going to be some exceptionally low tides in the Lyme Regis area.  This, in combination with the stormy weather that the Dorset coast had endured recently, made us confident that lots of fascinating fossil material would soon be discovered on the beaches surrounding Lyme Regis and Charmouth.

To read our article predicting fossil finds: Low Tides could lead to a Fossil Finding Bonanza

Sure enough, keen eyed amateur palaeontologists, holiday makers and fossil hunters were soon finding lots of new fossils, all exposed due to the low tides and additional erosion caused by the bad weather.  We have heard about a number of marine reptile remains that were discovered in the days and weeks following our original article, however, here are a couple of photos that we received showing beautifully preserved sections of Ichthyosaur vertebrae.

Beautifully Preserved (and Prepared) Articulated Ichthyosaur Vertebrae

Picture Credit: Brandon Lennon/Mike Jeffries

The picture shows a very well preserved section of the backbone of an Ichthyosaur (caudal vertebrae), Brandon Lennon, the expert fossil hunter who discovered this particular piece estimates that it is part from a specimen that would have measured more than 4 metres long in total.

Note how the rock matrix is being held (the rock surrounding the actual fossil material), fossilised bones should not be touched unless absolutely necessary.  The hand provides scale and the photograph shows the fossil upside down (neural spines seen at the bottom of the vertebrae).

More Recently Discovered Ichthyosaur Fossil Material (Lyme Regis)

Tail bones of an Ichthyosaur

More Ichthyosaur Material

Picture Credit: Brandon Lennon/Mike Jeffries

The picture above shows, Lyme Regis fossil dealer, Mike Jeffries with another section of Ichthyosaur vertebrae (lateral view).  This carefully prepared articulated fossil reveals plenty of detail – the round, dished vertebrae with blocky neural spines protruding above them.  The fossils were prepared and cleaned by Dorset based expert fossil developer David Costain.

Brandon Lennon had found two sections of the backbone about a year ago, the other (middle section of the final prepared fossil), was missing, but Brandon found the “linchpin” vertebra recently so the whole piece could be reconstructed.  With the discovery of the missing vertebra a section of Ichthyosaur could be connected together again.

To see more Lyme Regis fossils:

Mike’s Minerals and Fossils

Brandon Lennon’s Fossil Site

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