Fossil Discovered by Dog Goes on Display

Fossil Discovered by Dog Goes on Display
Fossil Discovered by Dog Goes on Display

(Picture Credit: Paulo Amorim / Getty Images)

A fossil of a marine animal has gone on display in the UK, 16 years after a dog found it during a walk, the BBC reports.

It took experts 16 years to extract and restore the fossil, which is 10.5ft long. And according to Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre, the three-dimensional plesiosaur skeleton is one of only a select few like it in the world. 

It’s named Raffle after Tracey Barclay’s dog, who found it in rocks in the English county of Dorset, part of a rock bed at Monmouth Beach known as the “ammonite pavement” due to the large number of ammonite fossils found there. 

A Surprising Discovery

Barclay said that Raffle began to scratch at a dark shape on a pale background. “I had a look and saw it was a row of vertebrae so [I was] very excited,” she said. “I knew it was bone material straight away but didn’t know if that was it.”

Her partner, Chris Moore, recognized that it was a plesiosaur, a reptile from the Jurassic Era. “We spent almost 15 years’ preparation on the piece to reveal the bones, get them out of the rock and then finally to mount them in three dimensions like this,” he explained.

“It’s great, just amazing. It’s such a relief to have got it here safely. When you put so much effort into something and you get the final result it’s like, ‘Wow’.”

The couple have loaned the 70%-complete skeleton to the heritage center.

Surprise Finds

Raffle isn’t the only dog to have found prehistoric bones. Last year, a dog in the U.S. found a mastodon bone that’s thought to be over six million years old. It might not be what you’d expect to come across on your next dog walk, but who knows what your pup might discover when you leave the house? You might make the next landmark discovery.

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