Sunday, 18 September 2016

Skye's Storr Lochs Monster fossil unveiled in Edinburgh

By Steven McKenzieBBC Scotland Highlands and Islands reporter

The fossilised skeleton of a 170 million-year-old Jurassic predator discovered on the Isle of Skye has been unveiled in Edinburgh.

Named the Storr Lochs Monster, the fossil of the sea-living reptile was found in 1966.

Fifty years on from the find, scientists from the University of Edinburgh and National Museums Scotland are preparing a detailed study of it.

It has been identified as being from a family of animals called ichthyosaurs.

The ancient reptiles grew to about 4m (13ft) in length and had long, pointed heads filled with hundreds of cone-shaped teeth, which they used to feed on fish and squid.

The Storr Lochs Monster is the most complete skeleton of a sea-living reptile from the "Age of Dinosaurs" that has ever been found in Scotland, the researchers said.

Skye is one of the few places in the world where fossils from the Middle Jurassic Period can be found.

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