Fossils of prehistoric dolphin-like creature discovered
A new dolphin-like species that lived around 170 million years ago has been identified from fossils found on the Isle of Skye off Scotland.
London: A new dolphin-like species that lived around 170 million years ago has been identified from fossils found on the Isle of Skye off Scotland.
The 14-feet long marine creature, named Dearcmhara shawcrossi named in honour of an amateur enthusiast, Brian Shawcross, who recovered the creature's fossils from the island's Bearreraig Bay in 1959.
The creature is a member of a group called ichthyosaurs that were among the dominant marine reptiles when dinosaurs ruled the land.
"The dolphin-like creatures were as long as 14 feet from snout to tail, and inhabited warm, shallow seas around Scotland during the Jurassic Period," scientist reported.
Dearcmhara, a moderate-sized ichthyosaur, swam in warm, shallow seas during the Jurassic Period, preyed on fish and other reptiles.
The genus name Dearcmhara, pronounced 'jark vara' is Scottish Gaelic for 'marine lizard' and pays homage to the history of Skye and the Hebrides.
A team of palaeontologists (scientist who studies fossils) - led by the University of Edinburgh and including a consortium of Scottish institutions - studied fossil fragments of skulls, teeth, vertebrae and an upper arm bone unearthed on the island over the past 50 years.
"Not only is this a very special discovery, but it also marks the beginning of a major new collaboration involving some of the most eminent palaeontologists," said Nick Fraser, of National Museums Scotland.
Members of the research team, known as PalAlba, will be exhibiting the bones of Dearcmhara at a one-day fossil event at Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh on January 18 from 10am-4pm.