COLLECTIONS & RESEARCH

Brother and Sister Find Sea-Dragon in Cliffs

Table of Contents

  1. An Overlooked Plesiosaur
  2. Ichthyosaur tooth
  3. A Wonderful Example of a Fossil Fish
  4. Brother and Sister Find Sea-Dragon in Cliffs
  5. Lower Jurassic Leaf
  6. Plesiosaur Vertebrae
  7. Small Ichthyosaur from Blue Lias Ledges
  8. Dapedium from Lang’s Fish Beds Found in May 2008 Landslip
  9. The Beast in the Cellar

Firstly, let me apologise for the delay in reporting this find in the cliffs between Lyme and Charmouth. My only excuse is that things have been very hectic at the Museum lately.

My understanding is that the brother, 14 year old Joseph, found the head section of what he took to be a sea dragon and that his younger sister Mary then went out looking for more of the specimen and found the neck section. The creature was subsequently identified as an ichthyosaur (fish lizard) of the species Temnodontosaurus platydon (the cutting tooth lizard). The children took their find (with lots of help) back to the site of Lyme Regis Museum where it was prepared and then sold to a local gentleman for the princely sum of £23.

Head of the fossil Temnodontosaurus platydon

Head of the fossil Temnodontosaurus platydon

This find was the first ever discovery of an Ichthyosaur fossil and the specimen was soon transported up to London to be put on show.

The specimen has become known as “The most famous fossilist’s most famous fossil!” as Mary Anning’s fame grew with amazing discovery after amazing discovery. However, it has never returned to Lyme Regis – until 2011.

The specimen’s current owners, The Natural History Museum agreed to lend it to Lyme Regis Museum so that it could return to Dorset’s Jurassic Coast for the two-hundredth anniversary of its discovery. The pictures below show it being removed from the back of the van and wheeled into the Museum which, incidentally, sits on the site of the Anning’s home.

Should you find one like this on the beach then it’s worth noting that you would get rather more than £23 for it nowadays!

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