Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Anning Ichthyosaur Skull Fossil

The Natural History Museum in London England has a special hall for the marine reptiles found along the country's south western coast. One the country's most famous paleontologists is credited with finding a number of these intact skeletons, Mary Anning. Her story starts off with her brother Joseph finding a relatively intact head of an ichthyosaur (Temnodontosaurus platyodon) in 1810 or 1811. The above picture is of this skull. The rest of the body was found by Mary a few months later in Lyme Regis, Dorset, England. The creature existed in the Lower Jurassic Period. It is specimen R1158 purchased from Bullock's Museum Piccadilly in 1819.

The fossil was documented in 1814 in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society entitled "Some Account of the Fossil Remains of an Animal More Nearly Allied to Fishes Than Any of the Other Classes of Animals" by Everard Home. Read June 23, 1814. The fossil was illustrated in publication as well. See image below.

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