The ichthyosaur was a dolphin-like animal. Its vertebrae are the commonest bones to be found for a very simple reason: each animal has about 180 individual vertebrae making up their backbone but they only have one head and four paddles.
These icthyosaur vertebrae were found by a local collector, Barney Hansford, probably at Charmouth. Between the 1950s and the 1970s, he built up a large collection of local fossils and displayed them in Barney’s Fossil Exhibition in Charmouth. After his death in the late 1980s, the collection was broken up, but some specimens found their way to Bridport Museum’s collection.
Find out more on the reptiles pages.