A man out for a stroll on a South Welsh beach stumbled upon something rather remarkable: a fully-articulated, seven-foot ichthyosaur skeleton — described by the National Museum Wales as "a potentially very, very important find."
As Wales Online reports:
Amateur fossil hunter Jonathan Bow has unearthed a seven foot skeleton of a ichthyosaur carniverous marine reptile on Penarth beach.
Ichthyosaurs (fish lizards) were predatory reptiles that swam the world's oceans while dinosaurs walked the land. They died out around 25 million years before the extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs and were replaced by plesiosaurs, a long neck marine reptile.
Palaeontologist Cindy Howells, collections manager in the Department of Geology at National Museum Wales, described the ichthyosaur as a "potentially very, very important find" given it was complete.
She has only seen it in photographs and hopes to view it for herself soon along with the other finds made by Mr Bow.
Bow's got the gleaning gift, it seems, since he told Wales Online that "This is not the rarest of my finds – that was a dinosaur toe bone which I found five years ago."
For now, he's keeping the ichthyosaur skeleton with his home collection of fossil finds.