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Thursday, 13 December, 2001, 07:40 GMT
Dinosaur goes on show
Plesiosaur bones
Palaeontologist Peter Blake found the Plesiosaur
A fossil which helped scientists fill a 10-million-year gap in the study of dinosaurs is going on display in Leicester.

The 190-million-year-old Plesiosaur skeleton is of a species new to science and has helped experts study creatures from the Jurassic era.

At almost three metres in length, the unique skeleton is about 85% complete and is missing only the front of its snout, the very tip of its tail and one back flipper.

It was found last year in northern Gloucestershire close to the Fosse Way by palaeontologist Peter Blake.

'Exciting purchase'

It has taken him more than a year to piece the skeleton back together.

It will go on display to visitors at the Leicester's New Walk Museum on Thursday - but only for three hours.

The total cost of bringing the specimen to Leicester is 40,000 and although the museum has managed to raise 32,000 in grant aid, it still has to raise another 8,000 to keep the Plesiosaur permanently.

Mark Evans, deputy curator of Leicester City Museums Service, said: "This is a truly exciting purchase for Leicester and one in which we can be extremely proud.

Unknown history

"Leicester City Museums Service has one of the best Plesiosaur collections outside of London and New Walk Museum is one of the few places in the country where they are studied by experts so it certainly is a fitting home."

He added: "But additional funding still needs to be found to bring this exciting new Jurassic reptile to Leicester."

Plesiosaurs were a special group of reptiles that lived in the sea.

The fossil found by Mr Blake casts light on a previously-unknown period spanning 10 million years.

Click here to go to Leicester
See also:

28 Nov 01 | Sci/Tech
Digital beasts roar to life
03 Oct 01 | England
Dinosaurs felt the heat
27 Sep 01 | Sci/Tech
Dinosaur eggs discovered
25 Sep 01 | Sci/Tech
How reptiles survived the big one
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