Scientists, in the UK, have found the largest and most complete Sea Dragon ever discovered there. In 2022, they found the 30-foot skeleton of the ichthyosaur in Rutland Water, Rutland. They have been known to grow 82 feet in length are over 180 million years old.
Ichthyosaur is ancient Greek for a fish lizard, the large extinct marine reptile. They belong to the order known as Ichthyosauria or Ichthyopterygi a designation by Sir Richard Owen in 1842. He was an English biologist, comparative anatomist, and paleontologist with a remarkable gift for interpreting fossils.
Ichthyosaurs were a successful group of large marine reptiles for most of the Mesozoic Era. They first appeared in the Early Triassic epoch, 248 million years ago, and became extinct in the early Late Cretaceous, 90 million years ago.
By the Jurassic period, they had evolved into highly adapted marine predators, with a streamlined body for moving through the water, large eyes for improved vision at depth, and an elongated skull with jaws full of conical teeth, suited for catching fish and squid.
The extremely deep rib cage may have allowed for larger lung capacity, used for holding their breath for extended periods. The earliest known Sea Dragons were eel-like but later they were recognized as more of a dolphin-like shape, with a porpoise-like head, a short neck, and a long snout.