The fossil came semi prepared from the top surface (the surface which was exposed when it was found) and has spent the last 9 months in their workshop being re-prepped from the underside by Dr Steve Etches MBE. By preparing the specimen from the underside it has enabled Steve to reveal a much better level of preservation than was seen before.
This amazing specimen represents one of the most complete ichthyosaurs to have come from the Kimmeridge Clay in Dorset and has some incredibly unique features, new to science.
The creature died on its back – it is estimated that when alive and complete it measured 5 metres in length from snout to tail approximately making it one of the largest and complete found in the UK.
With this new addition to the exhibition, The Etches Collection now holds the largest collection of articulated ichthyosaurs from the Kimmeridge Clay held anywhere in Britain and yet to be described.
The museum is proud to be the custodian of this amazing creature which they believe is of national importance. It will be on display from Wednesday 15th November 2017 for all to see.
The museum is also launching another ‘Jurassic Giant’ exhibit – a lifesize sculpture of a Pliosaur which hangs in the museum Foyer. This stunning, realistic ‘sea monster’ mirrors the 2.6 metre long pliosaur jaw fossil specimen from the collection. Created to depict ‘Life and Death in the Jurassic Seas of Kimmeridge’, the pliosaur is in mid-attack, ripping apart an ichthyosaur – all in glorious 3D, teeth, blood, flesh and bones!
As well as the above two ‘brand new’ attractions, the museum also has another fossil specimen that has recently been donated – it is of immense scientific importance and will take approximately 1 year to bring it to life – to prepare it mechanically and then to display. It will be revealed it to the public in the near future.
The exhibits are being launched to commemorate the first year of opening and to reaffirm the museum as a ‘Centre of Excellence for Learning and Discovery’ and home for special fossil specimens.
The Etches Collection is open every day, 10am – 5pm.