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Last Updated: Friday, 14 October 2005, 05:37 GMT 06:37 UK
Prehistoric reptile remains found
The remains of an ichthyosaur - generic
Ichthyosaurs lived about 65 to 220 million years ago
The remains of a 15ft reptile that lived in the sea off Dorset 190 million years ago have been found during work to prevent coastal landslips.

Parts of the ichthyosaur's snout, teeth, vertebrae and ribcage were found at Lyme Regis by geologist Paddy Howe, who is monitoring work on the site.

The area has one of the country's most unstable coastlines, making it hugely popular with fossil hunters.

A typical ichthyosaur looked a bit like a dolphin but was a reptile.

We hope that the fossil will eventually go on display at Lyme Regis Museum
Paddy Howe
They swam in the sea at the same time dinosaurs roamed the land.

The remains were found while foundations were being dug for a new jetty on the main beach in the town.

Pictures of the fossils have been sent to London's Natural History Museum to see how rare they are and whether or not further excavations are needed in the area.

Mr Howe said the find came after months of painstaking work identifying fossils found during the stabilisation scheme.

"Now it's a case of waiting to identify the exact species and how rare the fossil is before deciding whether or not to try and find the rest of it," he said.

"We hope that the fossil will eventually go on display at Lyme Regis Museum."

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