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Very good dogs discover 65 million-year-old fossil skeleton while out for a walk

Published Dec 16th, 2019 5:36PM EST
dogs find fossil
Image: Justus De Cuveland/imageBROKER/Shutterstock

When 54-year-old Jon Gopsill took his two dogs out for a stroll on a beach in Stolford, Somerset in the UK, he never could have anticipated what they’d stumble across. Gopsill is an amateur archaeologist and it would seem that his dogs share his affinity for hunting down remnants of the ancient world.

As The Telegraph reports, Gopsill’s two pups, Poppy and Sam, were with him for a trip to the beach. Gopsill was casually walking while his dogs played, and that’s when the trio discovered what is now believed to be a 65-million-year-old skeleton of a long-dead sea creature.

The remains, which are clearly identifiable as some kind of fish-like creature, are now thought to be those of an ichthyosaur. Unfortunately, what remains of the animal is missing a pretty important part — its head — making an exact identification a bit more challenging.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/content/dam/news/2019/12/16/TELEMMGLPICT000219273276_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqNUHzxaamNmHDqK-YksWRz0-Zkeq22DP0pP_ERpmv4gg.jpeg?imwidth=1400

“I thought it was obviously a fossilized sea creature, possibly an ichthyosaur. It doesn’t have a head, I have look around but I can’t find it. It has been there for at least 65 million years,” Gopsill, who considers himself ” a bit of an amateur fossil hunter,” explained. “I realized straight that it was amazing, museum-quality stuff, as soon as I saw it I knew I found something special. I was just blown away to see it there. It really is incredible that is has survived for such a long time and is now just there for everyone to see.”

Some stretches of nearby beaches in the Somerset area have produced fossil discoveries in the past. This five-and-a-half foot long specimen will be another to add to the list.