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A new species of ichthyosaur has been identified from a fossil that has been in the University of Nottingham's engineering collection for over half a century.
The University's specimen, announced today as Protoichthyosaurus applebyi, is a holotype - the valuable original specimen that describes a new species. It is the first known fossil of its kind anywhere in the world, which makes it even more scientifically significant.
Dr - David - Large - Geologist - Head
Dr David Large, a geologist and Head of the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, who joined the University in 1995, had used the specimen for teaching and outreach work while visiting primary schools to encourage children to explore science and engineering. The fossil, which was a hit with children, had faded into obscurity and was forgotten about for years. However, it was rediscovered not long ago, sitting on a shelf in a storeroom. Recognising its rarity and uniqueness, Dr Large retrieved the fossil and his effort enabled palaeontologists and scientists to study the specimen in greater detail.
Dean Lomax, a palaeontologist and Visiting Scientist at The University of Manchester, contacted Dr Large in 2014 while searching for another ichthyosaur fossil and was unaware that the newly-found specimen even existed as it had not been scientifically examined before. Eventually it was determined that this specimen is of a species new to science. It has been hailed as a major step in uncovering Britain's early fossil past and understanding ichthyosaur evolution.
Dean - Findings - Fossil - Journal - Vertebrate
Dean recently published his findings on the fossil in the Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology in collaboration with Professor Judy Massare of State University of New York, USA, and Rashmi Mistry, a former student at the University of Reading.
He said, "This ichthyosaur is an essential part of Nottingham's scientific collection and I'd like to thank David for bringing it to my attention. As part of our study we...
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