On Air Now

Through the night

Midnight - 7:00am

Now Playing

Xtc

Senses Working Overtime

Britain’s largest ichthyosaur fossil discovered in Rutland

World icthyosaur expert, Dr Dean Lomax with the Rutland 'Sea Dragon'

The fossilised remains of Britain’s largest ichthyosaur, colloquially known as a ‘Sea Dragon’, has been discovered at the Rutland Water Nature Reserve. Following last week’s revelation of an ancient Roman mosaic that was found in a farmer’s field in Rutland, this latest discovery is yet another 'internationally significant' find and has placed Rutland into the global spotlight once again.

Just a week after a Roman mosaic from nearly two thousand years ago was shared with the world, Rutland is back on TV with another historic discovery...this time dating back millions of years ago!  The biggest and most complete remains of what was Britain’s largest marine reptile have been discovered at Rutland Water.  The icythyosaur or sea dragon is thought to date from 180 million years ago, and has been unearthed in one of the newer lagoons at Egleton.  The remains have been fully excavated and will feature on BBC2’s Digging For Britain tomorrow night, the second time in a week Rutland has featured on the programme.  Joe Davis, Conservation Team Leader at Rutland Water Nature Reserve found the ‘Rutland Sea Dragon’ whilst doing some work on the lagoons:

“I was working in one of the lagoons at Rutland Water…and I saw [what I thought was] a ridge of stones’” says Joe. “I looked a bit closer, though, and realised that we were going to have to investigate this further. I contacted the council and asked ‘who do I speak to if I’ve found a dinosaur?”

A palaeontologist from the University of Leicester then came out to check on Joe’s discovery and confirmed that it was, in fact, not a dinosaur but a large ichthyosaur – a marine reptile from the Jurassic or Triassic period. It was subsequently fully excavated during August and September last year by a team of palaeontologists led by world ichthyosaur expert Dr Dean Lomax.

Ichthyosaurs first appeared around 250 million years ago and went extinct 90 million years ago. They were an extraordinary group of marine reptiles that varied in size from 1 metre to more than 25 metres in length, and resembled dolphins in general body shape. The hope is that heritage funding will become available to allow this ichthyosaur to be kept in Rutland and shared with the public.

This latest local archaeological discovery quickly follows the unearthing of a 3rd century Roman mosaic, discovered in a farmers field in Rutland in 2020. The mosaic, part of a floor of a roman villa, depicts scenes from Homer’s The Iliad and is considered one of the most remarkable mosaics ever found in Britain.

The 'Rutland Sea Dragon’ will be aired on BBC2’s Digging For Britain on Tuesday 11th January at 8pm. For more information on the ichthyosaur and its discovery visit Rutland Sea Dragon (anglianwater.co.uk)

More from Local News

  • Royal Air Force C-17 returns to the skies of Rutland and Stamford tonight

    RAF Wittering will be hosting some essential flying training for the next three nights as RAF crews hone their tactical night flying skills in the Boeing C-17.

  • New council leader names her ‘Rainbow Cabinet’

    Following her recent election as Council Leader at Rutland’s Annual Council Meeting earlier this month, Councillor Lucy Stephenson has named her cabinet ahead next week’s first meeting.

  • Colemans to close Stamford and Oakham stores

    Rising costs, the difficulties of being competitive on-line against big business and sales not returning to pre-pandemic levels are the reasons why Colemans have taken the decision to close most of their shops, including Stamford and Oakham. A closing down sale is being held to shift most of the stock. Only the two stores in Oundle will remain.

  • Red Lion Square improvements underway

    Work to replace the surface of Red Lion Square in Stamford started on Monday 9 May. Red Lion Square and St Johns Street have become one-way, towards Scotgate, until mid-July. Lincolnshire County Council are relaying 620 square metres of paving with 22,500 new deeper stone setts and a stronger foundation.

  • New leader at Rutland County Council

    Rutland’s Annual Council Meeting on Monday resulted in a change of political leadership after Council Leader Oliver Hemsley stood down. He was replaced by Lucy Stephenson (Conservative), who was elected by a majority of 18 Councillors. Cllr Lucy Stephenson says that she wants a united chamber with everyone working as one for the good of the county.

  • Rutland’s Inspector of Police praises Speed Watch Scheme

    With new roadworks and traffic lights seemingly appearing by the day on our roads, country lanes and villages are increasingly being used as diversions. However, speeding incidents have also increased in communities and Rutland’s new Inspector of Police says that with their help, local residents can help slow frustrated motorists down.

  • Library re-opens on Stamford High Street

    Stamford’s library re-opened on Stamford High Street on Tuesday 3 May, after nine months of work on the roof, although construction hoardings remain in place while work continues on the building.

  • Liberal Democrat wins council by-election in Uppingham

    Stephen Lambert won Thursday’s by-election in Uppingham and has been elected as a Ward Member for Uppingham on Rutland County Council. The election was called following the resignation of Miranda Jones (Green Party) who moved out of the area.

  • Council Leader resigns from Conservative Group

    Oliver Hemsley, Leader at Rutland County Council, announced on Thursday that he is resigning from the Conservative Group, but will remain as Leader of the Council, serving as a non-aligned independent councillor. Cllr Helmsley said that Council’s constitution does not require the Council Leader to be from any particular group and that he intends to complete his current four-year term in office.

Recently Played