190 Million-Year-Old Plesiosaurus Slowly Being Revealed
Monmouth beach, just west of the small Dorset town of Lyme Regis is slowly but surely giving up the fossilised remains of a marine reptile that once swam in a warm, shallow sea. The fossils are that of a Plesiosaurus; a long-necked reptile, a member of a group of animals that had their origins in the Late Triassic and survived right up to the end of the Age of Reptiles, around 65 million years ago.
The fossils were found by Brandon Lennon, local Lyme Regis professional fossil collector with over twenty years fossil hunting experience. Articulated Plesiosaur remains are very rare, even in the fossil rich strata to be found in the Lyme Bay area.
Brandon with some of the Plesiosaur Remains
Picture Credit: Brandon Lennon
The bones look like cervical vertebrae with a fragment of rib (black, pencil-like object at the top of the larger block in Brandon’s left hand. The first Plesiosaur fossil discovered and brought to the attention of scientists was found by Mary Anning, so Brandon is in good company.
If visiting Lyme Regis with the intention of hunting for fossils we can recommend Brandon, who regularly takes members of the public on fossil hunting expeditions. To read more about Brandon’s work and to book a fossil walk: Lyme Regis Fossil Hunting Trips
Professional Fossil Hunter Brandon commented:
“The bones of a Plesiosaur have been washing out of a mud slip at one particular spot. Big seas are revealing more of this potentially whole specimen all of the time.”
Just like the Plesiosaur discovered by Mary Anning almost 200 years ago, this new specimen could represent an entirely new species. Brandon, went onto add that the only trouble was that it may take another two decades for the whole creature to be exposed.
“Every big tide that occurs in Lyme Bay, leads to us visiting this location to see if more fossil containing rocks have been revealed.”
A spokesperson for Everything Dinosaur commented:
“This is potentially a very exciting discovery, although we would advise members of the public to take care when looking for fossils themselves in Lyme Bay. The cliffs are extremely dangerous and mud slips/rockfalls can take place at any time and we would only advise looking for fossils at low tide”.
An Illustration of a Plesiosaurus
Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur