SCIENTISTS have hailed the largest and most complete fossil “sea dragon” ever discovered in the UK.
Experts found the 30ft skeleton of the dolphin-like ichthyosaur in Rutland Water, Rutland.
It is 180million years old.
They grow to 82ft (25 metres).
The first ichthyosaurs, which are called sea dragons because they tend to have very large teeth and eyes, were discovered by fossil hunter and palaeontologist Mary Anning in the early 19th century.
Dr Dean Lomax, a palaeontologist who has studied the species, said: “Despite the many ichthyosaur fossils found in Britain, it is remarkable to think that the Rutland ichthyosaur is the largest skeleton ever found in the UK.
“It is a truly unprecedented discovery and one of the greatest finds in British palaeontological history.”
The excavation is shown on BBC Two’s Digging For Britain tomorrow at 8pm.