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Loch Ness •

Scotland has its very own prehistoric marine reptile Dearcmhara shawcrossi. This time it is not that elusive Loch Ness monster but the fossil remains of a dolphin-like seagoing reptile on Scotland’s Isle of Skye that lived about 170 million years ago and was about 4.3m long.

The specimen has been named Dearcmhara shawcrossi, and belonged to a group called ichthyosaurs. It was among the foremost marine reptiles when dinosaurs ruled the world. Some specimens reached grotesque proportions which was outsized by the largest of today’s whales and thrived for more than 150 million years and became extinct some 95 million years ago.

Dearcmhara was a modest sized ichthyosaur, and lived in the warm, shallow seas during the Jurassic Period. It was a fast swimmer and ate fish and squid.

University of Edinburgh palaeontologist Steve Brusatte, one of the researchers in the study published on Monday in the Scottish Journal of Geology said, “It is from Scotland, and is the first uniquely Scottish marine reptile ever discovered and studied.”

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