Ichthyosaur Paddle and Vertebrae
Lyme Regis, Dorset, England
While ammonites are common from Lyme Regis, any ichthyosaur bones from this locality are rarely found and in great demand. This nicely detailed specimen displays an articulated paddle; the fingers were used for steering while it was swimming. While humans only have three phalanges in the fingers, ichthyosaurs possessed up to fifteen phalanges, as seen in this specimen. The large number of phalanges also identifies it as a front pectoral paddle as the rear paddles had fewer phalanges. This species from Lyme Regis was the first species of ichthyosaur discovered in 1918 by Mary Anning, who became the very first fossil dealer and inspired the ditty, she sells sea shells at the sea shore.
Matrix measures 14 x 7 1/2in
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