Home / Funny / Animals / The 202-Million-Year-Old Ichthyosaur May Be The Largest Marine Reptile


With a length of roughly 88 feet from nose to tail and a weight of more than 200 pounds, the blue whale is currently the monarch of the oceans. The largest animals on Earth, whether on land or in the sea, are these giants of the waves. The well-known colossal dinosaurs record the history of how creatures can grow to such enormous sizes. As a recent discovery shows, prehistoric giants can teach us a great deal about the evolution of large life. The Ichthyotitan severnensis, a recently discovered prehistoric species of marine reptile, is illuminated by fossilised jawbones discovered in the United Kingdom. It was the largest known marine reptile, measuring probably 82 feet in length, according to the description published in PLOS One.

While looking for fossils in Somerset in 2020, Justin Reynolds and his daughter Ruby, then 11 years old, came across fragments of ancient bone. To evaluate these discoveries, they got in touch with palaeontologist Dr. Dean Lomax. It turned out that Paul de la Salle had found similar fossils in 2016. Now that they were in front of two massive jaw bones, Lomax, de la Salle, and the rest of the team realised they had discovered a new ichthyosaur species. Ichthyosaurs, which means "fish lizard" in Greek, are an order of extinct marine animals with enormous jaws and strong tails for swimming. 

Around 202 million years ago, in the late Triassic Period, this particular new species was swimming in the waters close to what is now the United Kingdom. The giant fish lizard of the Severn is the meaning of its new scientific name. It lived shortly before a mass extinction that fundamentally altered life on Earth, making it potentially the largest species of ichthyosaur to be found to date.

"This research has been ongoing for almost eight years," stated Lomax in a statement. The idea that massive ichthyosaurs the size of blue whales once swam in the waters surrounding what is now the United Kingdom during the Triassic Period is truly astounding. These jawbones offer intriguing evidence that a full skull or skeleton belonging to one of these giants might one day be discovered. You never know.

Even better, because of her and her dad's incredible discovery, Ruby is now a published scientist at the age of fifteen. 

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