A Dog Walker In The U.K. Just Found A 65 Million-Year-Old Fossil Thanks To Two Very Good Doggos

A man in England claimed he discovered a fossil while out walking his two dogs.
The man, 54-year-old Jon Gopsill, said his dogs sniffed out the fossil on a beach in Somerset, which is in South West England. The fossil is five-and-a-half feet long and is believed to have been unearthed by recent storms, The Telegraph reported. Gopsill, the outlet reported, fancies himself an amateur archaeologist and said he believes the fossil is 65 million-years-old and may be that of an ichthyosaur.
Ichthyosaurs were not dinosaurs, but ancient marine vertebrates, which resembled modern-day porpoise. They first appeared during the Triassic period, according to former University of California-Berkeley post-doctoral researcher Ryosuke Motani. They reached their highest population during the Jurassic period and began to decline afterward, disappearing during the Cretaceous period, which occurred several million years before the dinosaurs were wiped out.
Some rare fossils have shown that ichthyosaurs gave birth to live young and never left the water. There’s no indication that they had gills, making them similar to modern-day whales.
Gopsill said he had previously found other fossils – mostly ammonites, and the Telegraph reported that “West Somerset’s northern bays are known for their fossil finds,” including rocks from the Jurassic and Triassic eras. The outlet reported that just last year, “part of the lower jaw of a 85-foot ichthyosaur was found in the Somerset village of Lilstock, thought to be 235 to 200 million years old.”
Gopsill told the outlet he reported the fossil he discovered to the Somerset Heritage and the Natural History Museum.
“I often go to the beach walking with my dogs and when the tide goes out we go out to the rocks because they like playing there,” Gopsill told the Telegraph. “I have always been a bit of an amateur fossil hunter and I have found a good supply of ammonites, so I always keep my eyes open.”
“We were at the beach when I saw this thing and thought ‘what’s that?’ so I went a bit closer and thought ‘wow,’” he continued. “I thought it was obviously a fossilised sea creature, possibly an ichthyosaur. It doesn’t have a head, I have look[ed] around but I can’t find it. It has been there for at least 65 million years.”
“I realised straight that it was amazing, museum quality stuff, as soon as I saw it I knew I found something special. I was just blown away to see it there. It really is incredible that is has survived for such a long time and is now just there for everyone to see,” Gopsill concluded.
Dr. Mike Day, who curates the Earth Sciences department at the Natural History Museum, confirmed to The Daily Mail that the fossil found by Gopsill was likely that of an ichthyosaur.
“Looking at this specimen, based on the number of bones in the pectoral paddle, the apparent absence of a pelvic girdle, as well as the distinctive ‘hunch’ of the back, this is likely to be the remains of an ichthyosaur,” Day told the outlet. “It is not possible to identify the exact type of ichthyosaur from these images alone however.”
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