A Jurassic Sea Monster Finally Unveiled In Edinburgh--No, Not The Lochness

First Posted: Sep 07, 2016 04:58 AM EDT

The fossilized skeleton of a sea-living reptile named the Storr Lochs Monster was found in 1966. 50 years after the discovery on the Isle of Skye, it is now unveiled in Edinburgh and ready to be studied in detail.

Storr Lochs Monster belongs to a family of animals called ichthyosaurs. They are the extinct marine reptiles that existed alongside the dinosaurs. The specimen of Storr Locks is the most complete marine reptile found from the dinosaur age.

According to National Geographic, the skeleton was entombed in a hard rock and remained in storage for decades. On September 5, the remains made a successful public debut. This was made possible by the partnership among the National Museums Scotland, energy company SSE, and University of Edinburgh; which allowed paleontologists to free the skeleton.

BBC reports that the first mammals, birds, and reptiles appeared during the Middle Jurassic Period and Syke is among the few places where fossils from this period can be found. Its rich fossil record has provided important hints about the lives of prehistoric predators and prey. Meanwhile, Storr Lochs Monsters were considered the dolphins of their time. They were fast swimmers and had narrow snouts and cone-shaped teeth that were used for eating fish and squid.

At present, pool expertise is believed to enable the formation of a clearer picture of the fossil. Paleontologists are set for a detailed study with the aim of increasing the understanding of the Middle Jurassic Period particularly the evolution of ichthyosaurus.

The Storr Lochs Monster was found in the summer of 1966 by Norrie Gillies, SSE's hydroelectric Storr Lochs Power Station manager. Upon discovery, Gillies immediately sent the information to the Royal Scottish Museum, now absorbed into National Museum Scotland. Due to the fossil's storage, he never saw the full creature he had found. Keeping it entombed was necessary because it was trapped in hardened sedimentary rock and its exposure without expertise and right tool would be disastrous.

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