A huge fossilied sea monster is not what you expect to find in a land-locked reservoir in the UK, but that is just what workers discovered during landscaping works at Rutland Water Nature Reserve last year.
In February 2021, Joe Davis spotted something sticking out of the mud, and after a team of palaeontologists descended on the site to excavate, they discovered it was a ten-metre-long Ichthyosaur – the largest of its type ever found in the UK.
These warm-blooded, air-breathing predators could attain lengths of 25 metres and lived between 250 million and 90 million years ago. While it may seem odd to discover such a find in a land-locked reservoir some 30 miles from the coast, 200 million years ago, the area would have been under a shallow ocean.
Anglian Water, which manages the reservoir, is now on the hunt for funding to enable the Ichthyosaur to remain in the area and be seen by the general public.
Check out Digging for Britain on BBC Two at 8pm tomorrow night (Tuesday 11 January). It will also be available on iPlayer after this date.
Photo credit: Matthew Power Photography