In an exciting discovery along the rocky shores of Somerset, England, a young girl and her father stumbled upon the fossilized remains of a huge sea creature, shedding light on ancient ocean life more than 200 million years ago. This old jawbone, believed to be from an ichthyosaur (ick-thee-oh-sawr), suggests that this creature was one of the biggest of its kind, possibly reaching 22 to 26 meters in length—comparable to today’s biggest baleen whales. The discovery, described in a scientific journal, helps scientists learn more about marine animals during the Triassic Period.

Ichthyosaurs were powerful creatures that evolved from land animals into dominant sea predators. The fossil found, a part of the lower jaw called the surangular, shows how big the ichthyosaur was and suggests it had a strong bite, probably making it a top hunter in its environment. The discovery is the result of teamwork between amateur fossil hunters and professional scientists, including a respected team from the University of Manchester. Their collaboration not only demonstrates the strength of working together in paleontology but also shows how unexpected finds can greatly add to knowledge of ancient life, adding to the complex story of evolution on Earth.