Usually old fish are buried rather than unearthed but in Peterborough, UK, a 165 million year old fish has been dug up at a quarry.
Jordan, a self-educated paleontologist who has lectured at the University of Cambridge, believes the specimen is either the most complete find of the little understood leedsichthysproblematicus or an as yet undiscovered ancestor of the beast.
Fossils Galore has already found more than 8000 bones from just one per cent of the material recovered from the site and estimates its project may last five to six years.
Jordan said he was left ?gobsmacked? when Hanson?s digger unearthed the fossilised remains of the fish in front of his eyes. ?I jumped straight down there as soon as I saw it and told the digger to stop. I shouted at the driver because I didn?t want it destroyed,? he said.
The depth of the find means the specimen pre-dates previously discovered examples of leedsichthysproblematicus by seven million years. The unusual nature of the bones may mean it is a forebearer of the Jurassic creature. On the basis of the fossils, Jordan estimates the beast may have been 26 metres long.
David Weeks, spokesman for Hanson, said that the find showed the important part the quarry industry has to play in discovering and protecting our heritage. ?We are very keen to do whatever we can to help archaeologists understand what life was like in this part of the world millions of years ago,? Weeks said.
Source: Peterborough Telegraph (UK)