New findings in Scotland show ichthyosaurs are unique to the warm shallow waters of what is now Scotland during Jurassic period, 117-169 million years ago. A team of paleontologists headed by Dr Steve Brusatte of National Museums Scotland and the University of Edinburgh has discovered a new genus and species of ichthyosaur in rare fossils.
“During the time of dinosaurs, the waters of Scotland were prowled by big reptiles the size of motor boats. Their fossils are very rare, and only now, for the first time we’ve found a new species that was uniquely Scottish,” said Dr Brusatte, who is the first author of a paper published in the Scottish Journal of Geology.
The newfound species, named Dearcmhara shawcrossi, was a 4-meter long aquatic dolphin-like reptile. It was near the top of the food chain and preyed on fish and other reptiles.