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160 Years After Its Arrival, New Ichthyosaurus identified at the Academy of Natural Sciences

The Ichthyosaurus somersetensis specimen at the Academy of Natural Sciences with (from L–R) Ted Daeschler, Dean Lomax and Judy Massare.

October 12, 2016

More than 160 years after its discovery in an English quarry, an ancient, aquatic reptile specimen at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University has finally been given its own name.

In the effort to identify more ichthyosaurs, the University of Manchester’s Dean Lomax and Brockport College’s Judy Massare, PhD, examined a specimen stored at the Academy and determined that it was a new species. In honor of where it was found, Somerset County, they named the Jurassic-era animal Ichthyosaurus somersetensis.

Ted Daeschler, PhD, vice president for collections and the library of the Academy of Natural Sciences and keeper of the specimen, was “thrilled” with being able to help the new discovery.

“Being part of identifying new species is always a thrilling endeavor,” he said. “With each new species, you’re adding knowledge of a unique biological thread that helps to weave together the tapestry of life on Earth.”

Lomax called the Academy’s 200-million-year-old specimen, which is a complete skeleton encased in a slab of rock, “the best example of Ichthyosaurus collected to date.”

But how did it get to the Academy?

Read more at the Drexel News Blog