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An 11-year-old girl's fossil find is the largest known ocean reptile – The Seattle Times

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An 11-year-old girl’s fossil find is the largest known ocean reptile

An 11-year-old girl from the United Kingdom has made a remarkable discovery that has shocked the scientific community. Lily Wilder found a fossil on a beach in Yorkshire that has been identified as the largest known ocean reptile, the ichthyosaur. This find has garnered widespread attention and has the potential to rewrite our understanding of prehistoric marine life.

The Discovery

Lily Wilder was on a fossil hunting trip with her family at Atherfield beach on the Isle of Wight when she stumbled upon the incredibly well-preserved fossil. At first, she thought it was a piece of rock, but upon closer inspection, she realized it was something much more significant. The fossil turned out to be a jawbone belonging to an ichthyosaur, a large marine reptile that roamed the oceans millions of years ago.

The Ichthyosaur

The ichthyosaur was a fearsome predator that lived during the Mesozoic Era, alongside dinosaurs. These reptiles had streamlined bodies, similar to modern-day dolphins, and propelled themselves through the water using their powerful tails. They were top predators in the ancient seas and played a crucial role in the ecosystem.

Size and Significance

The fossil discovered by Lily Wilder is estimated to be around 3.5 meters long, making it the largest known ichthyosaur. This find is particularly significant because it provides valuable insights into the size and diversity of prehistoric marine reptiles. By studying the fossil, scientists can learn more about the anatomy, behavior, and evolution of these fascinating creatures.

Scientific Impact

The discovery has generated excitement among paleontologists and researchers who are eager to study the fossil in detail. By analyzing the jawbone and other remains that may be uncovered, scientists hope to piece together the puzzle of the ichthyosaur’s life history. This find could lead to groundbreaking discoveries and contribute to our understanding of ancient marine ecosystems.

Public Interest

Lily Wilder’s discovery has also captured the public’s imagination, inspiring people of all ages to learn more about paleontology and the natural world. The story of a young girl making such a significant find serves as a reminder of the importance of curiosity, perseverance, and a love for science. It has reignited interest in fossil hunting and sparked conversations about our planet’s history.

Educational Value

For educators and students, the fossil discovery presents a unique opportunity to engage with the natural sciences. Teachers can use this real-world example to illustrate concepts in paleontology, evolution, and biodiversity. The story of Lily Wilder and her remarkable find can inspire the next generation of scientists and fossil hunters.


The discovery of the largest known ocean reptile by an 11-year-old girl is a testament to the power of curiosity and the wonders of the natural world. Lily Wilder’s find has the potential to reshape our understanding of prehistoric marine life and inspire a new generation of scientists. This remarkable discovery highlights the importance of exploration, discovery, and scientific inquiry in unraveling the mysteries of the past.

Largest known ocean reptile discovered by an 11-year-old girl – The Seattle Times
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