Watch your back, Loch Ness Monster, because there’s a new Scottish aquatic predator in town, and this one has the crucial advantage of actually having existed.
By Becky Ferreira | MOTHERBOARD
On Monday morning, Scotland-based paleontologists unveiled the fossilized remains of the “Storr Lochs Monster,” an extinct ocean hunter named for the region in the Isle of Skye where it was found.
Measuring about four meters (13 feet) long, the Storr Lochs Monster belongs to the ichthyosaur family of marine reptiles that thrived in Earth’s oceans at the same time dinosaurs reigned on land. With its long, pointed snout and large, streamlined body, this animal occupied a similar niche to modern dolphins, and would have preyed on smaller fish and squid to survive.
The Storr Lochs specimen dates back 170 million years to the Middle Jurassic period, and represents the most complete fossilized skeleton of a Mesozoic seafaring reptile ever found in Scotland.