Mysteries Of Giant Prehistoric Marine Reptile Unlocked Thanks To Medical Technology

Source: Phys.org/University of Manchester

Photo: Heinrich Harder/Wikimedia Commons 

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A nearly metre-long skull of a giant fossil marine ichthyosaur found in a farmer’s field more than 60 years ago has been studied for the first time.

Using cutting-edge computerised tomography (CT) scanning technology, the research reveals new information including details of the rarely preserved braincase.

The almost 200 million year old fossil, which was found in 1955 at Fell Mill Farm in Warwickshire, had never formally been studied prior to this research.

Now, thanks to data collected from CT scans, the research team were able to digitally reconstruct the entire  in 3-D. It is the first time a digital reconstruction of a skull and mandible of a large marine reptile has ever been made available for research purposes and to the public.

Although thousands of ichthyosaur fossils have been unearthed in the UK, this specimen is particularly important and unusual because it is three-dimensionally preserved and contains bones of the skull that are rarely exposed.

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Photo: Heinrich Harder/Wikimedia Commons

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