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New Sea Dragon Unlocked

Researchers have identified remnants of what may be the largest marine reptile ever discovered. The species, ichthyotitan severnensis, was believed to reach over 80 feet long, twice the length of a city bus.

The newly discovered species is a descendant of ichthyosaurs (sea dragons), which coexisted with dinosaurs in the late Triassic Period, 250 million to 200 million years ago. Like dolphins, the sea-bound creatures were capable of breathing air and subsisted off fish and squid. This particular fossil was discovered by a father-daughter duo in 2020 on the beaches of Somerset, England, and later corroborated by paleontologists. The duo (the daughter is now 15 years old) uncovered part of the creature’s lower jawbone, known as a surangular, estimated to reach over 6 feet. 

Researchers say further investigation is needed to confirm the new species’ length. It follows a 2018 study in which the study’s author discovered another species of icthyosaur, also on the beaches of Somerset.

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