Scientists discovered the fossils of a dolphin like prehistoric marine reptile of 4.3 metres, that lived about 170 million years ago. The discovery of the remains was made on Scotland’s Isle of Skye.
The creature was named Dearchmhara Shawcrossi and belongs to a group called itchthyosaurs, which were one of the most dominant sea reptiles in the times that dinosaurus inhabited the planet. Some of them reached colossal proportions similar to the largest nowadays whales. Theses reptiles existed on Earth for about 150 million years, before disappearing 95 million years ago.
Dearcmhara, was a warm shallow water medium sized ichthyosaur, which lived in the Jurrasic period, feeding mostly with fish and squid. Researchers said that the founding remains are incomplete but, the bone shape from its frontal flippers suggests that it is possible to have been a very strong and fast swimmer.
This finding, means a great deal for Scotland as it is the first Scottish sea reptile that was ever discovered and put under study, said one of the researchers, paleontologist Steve Brusatte from the University of Edinburgh.
He said that there have been plenty of other marine creatures discovered in Scotland but most of them have been sold or taken for personal collections. The remains of the Dearcmhara were found by a private collector who decided to donate the fossil to a museum and allow scientists to study it.
Brian Shawcross, found the fossil on a northern beach of the Isle of Skye in 1959 and gave it away in 1990. The name of the creature, Dearcmhara is in Scottish Gaelic, and is pronounced “jark vara” which means “ marine lizard”. The second name was given in the honour of Shawcross. Paleontologists are extremely grateful that the collector decided to donate the fossils to the Glasgow’s Hunterian Museum.
This discovery helped scientists get a grip on the unknown regarding the marine creatures which lived during the Jurrasic period, Scotland being one of the few places which own fossils from that period.
Other clues indicate the fact that Dearcmhara lived togheter with another group pf marine reptiles called plesiosaurs, known as having long necks and flippers resembling paddles. The Lock Ness monster, pet named Nessie, it is believed to have been a plesiosaur.