Thursday 24 November 2022 02:38 PM Fossil of 8ft-long ichthyosaurus preserved for 180 million years tipped to sell ... trends now

Thursday 24 November 2022 02:38 PM Fossil of 8ft-long ichthyosaurus preserved for 180 million years tipped to sell ... trends now
Thursday 24 November 2022 02:38 PM Fossil of 8ft-long ichthyosaurus preserved for 180 million years tipped to sell ... trends now

Thursday 24 November 2022 02:38 PM Fossil of 8ft-long ichthyosaurus preserved for 180 million years tipped to sell ... trends now

The complete fossil of a 180 million-year-old marine reptile is tipped to sell for over £500,000 at auction.

It is the skeleton of an ichthyosaur - a Jurassic predator approximately eight feet (2.4 m) long - and had been preserved in soft carbonate mud prior to its excavation.

This specimen was discovered in a geological formation in Lorraine, France in the early 2000s, during the construction of the high-speed TGV rail line.

As the majority of complete ichthyosaur fossils belong to museums, those that appear on the private market usually command high prices.

This one is being sold at Bonhams in Paris on December 13, and is expected to go for hundreds of thousands.

Claudia Florian, consulting director of Bonhams natural history department, said: 'This skeleton is extremely complete with a total of more than 80 percent original bones.

'It is the first time that a complete specimen like this, found in France, will be offered at auction.'

This specimen was discovered in a geological formation in Lorraine, France in the early 2000s, during the construction of the high-speed TGV rail line

This specimen was discovered in a geological formation in Lorraine, France in the early 2000s, during the construction of the high-speed TGV rail line

Ichtyhosaurs - meaning 'fish lizards' in Greek - were a species of reptile which thrived in the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods between 252 and 90 million years ago

Ichtyhosaurs - meaning 'fish lizards' in Greek - were a species of reptile which thrived in the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods between 252 and 90 million years ago

This fossil is being sold at Bonhams in Paris on December 13, and is expected to go for hundreds of thousands

This fossil is being sold at Bonhams in Paris on December 13, and is expected to go for hundreds of thousands

Claudia Florian, consulting director of Bonhams natural history department, said: 'This skeleton is extremely complete with a total of more than 80 percent original bones'

Claudia Florian, consulting director of Bonhams natural history department, said: 'This skeleton is extremely complete with a total of more than 80 percent original bones'

WHAT WERE ICHYTHYOSAURS?

Ichthyosaurs were a highly successful group of sea-going reptiles that became extinct around 90 million years ago.

They appeared during the Triassic, reached their peak during the Jurassic, and disappeared during the Cretaceous period. 

Often misidentified as swimming dinosaurs, these reptiles appeared before the first dinosaurs had emerged.

They evolved from an as-yet unidentified land reptile that moved back into the water. 

Scientists calculate that one species had a cruising speed of 22 mph (36 kph).

The largest species of ichthyosaur is thought to have grown to over 20 metres (65 ft) in length.

The largest complete ichthyologists fossil ever discovered, at 11 feet (3.5 m), was found to have a foetus still inside its womb. 

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She added: 'Complete and well-preserved specimens are rare. 

'Some of the best-known specimens tend to be flattened in mud-rock deposits, so it is quite rare to find an example, like this one, where the skeleton is not only well-represented but the bones are preserved in three dimensions.'

Ichtyhosaurs - meaning 'fish lizards' in Greek - were a species of reptile that thrived in the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods between 252 and 90 million years ago.

Originating from the ocean, they moved onto land before eventually evolving back into water. 

They are famous for their fish-like shape, resembling today's dolphins, but are

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