In May 2007 a unique fossil ichthyosaur (ik-thee-o-saw) found in Charmouth was returned to the Jurassic Coast for a triumphant home-coming tour.
The marine reptile specimen was found by Dr Davis of the Natural History Museum (NHM) in 2005 and has since been carefully prepared by the Museum’s conservation team. As part of the agreement between the Jurassic Coast Steering Group and the NHM, the fossil was made available on loan for a year to visit a range of locations along the coast.
Housed in an impressive display case, and with an accompanying video presentation, the 190 million year old ‘beast’ made its first appearance at the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival in 2007, just 3 miles from where it was found.
It then progressed to libraries in Seaton, Sidmouth, Exeter and Honiton finishing its East Devon tour in Exmouth Tourist Information Centre. In October the fossil made its way to Poole Central Library and then went on to Wareham and Swanage.
It is now in Weymouth Library until 25th Feb and should be spending March in Bridport library. The final ‘mystery venue’ is yet to be confirmed.
Public response to the exhibition has been overwhelmingly positive, and the following are some of the comments left in the guest book:
“I’m only 16, but I thought it was fantastic good work!” Sidmouth Library
“An amazing sight to see and a good clue of what dinosaurs look like” Rosie, aged 10, Seaton Library
“I think that it is an amazing fossil and it’s fantastic” Jessica, aged 9, Exeter Library
“Fascinating experience. Seeing this fossil brings the past and our coastline much closer to home” Angela, Honiton Library
“Fantastic to have a dinosaur at the very start of the Jurassic Coast.. Can’t we keep him?” Rachel, Exmouth TIC
“That Bony thing is wicked” Rida, Poole Library
“We came from Christchurch to see this. Quite amazing” Jan, Bob, Ray and Sid, Wareham Library
“A really great initiative by all those concerned for us to be able to view this incredible creature. Thank you” Anon, Swanage Library
Sam Rose , Team Leader.