25-Year-Old Paleontologist Discovers a New Species of Ancient Reptile

kim kardashian

A young paleontologist has discovered a dinosaur fossil that has been on display at the Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery in Doncaster, is actually the remains of an unknown species of reptile.

The fossil of an ichthyosaur, a prehistoric aquatic reptile, was believed to be just a replica that was on display, but Dean Lomax, a 25 paleontologist, discovered that the “fake” fossil actually belongs to a species that has not been identified yet from 189 million years ago.

Lomax published his finding in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, and told the BBC, “We could see tiny hook-shaped features that were actually the hooks from the tentacles of squid. So we know what its last meal was.”

A professor at the State University of New York, Judy Massare, worked with Lomax by comparing their fossil with the of remains of 1,000-year-old ichthyosaur remains. The two discovered that there were indeed small anatomical differences between their specimen and the ones they were comparing too.

The new species is being named Ichthyosaurus Anningae, a name dedicated to Mary Anning, the first person to discover the ichthyosaur.

Lomax is ecstatic about the discovery and continued to tell BBC, “It is an honor to name a new species, but to name it after somebody with such an important role in helping sculpt the science of paleontology is something I’m very proud of.”

Lomax’s discovery shows that there could potentially be countless other species to be discovered and University of Edinburgh paleontologist Stephen Brusatte also told BBC, “Paleontology is a unique science because you don’t need an advanced degree or specialized training to find a fossil, just patience and a keen set of eyes.”

Photo by: James McKay

 

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