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No. 4 is absolutely terrifying.

'Cousin' of the Loch Ness monster discovered in Scotland

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Thursday, January 15, 2015, 4:02 PM - Talk about a famous family tree.

Scientists in Scotland announced the discovery of fossils traced to a large reptile that lived in Scotland's Isle of Skye some 170 million years ago, the same area of the world that captivated people with stories of a loch 'monster' for decades.

The creature -- which was 4.3 metres long --  is called Dearcmhara shawcrossi. It had dolphin-like features and lived for more than 150 million years, disappearing about 95 million years ago.

"It is from Scotland, and is the first uniquely Scottish marine reptile ever discovered and studied," University of Edinburgh paleontologist Steve Brusatte told Reuters.

RELATED: Cyclist takes on Scotland's Isle of Skye

"Many other marine reptile fossils have been found in Scotland, but the vast majority of these have disappeared into private collections or been sold. This new specimen finally breaks the impasse: it was found by a private collector who did a great thing, donated it to a museum and worked with scientists." 

Researchers say the discovery provides new insight into the Jurassic period, an era where marine life is largely unstudied.

It's believed the dearcmhara lived alongside another large reptile called plesiosaurs -- the animal which bears a strong resemblance to the famed Loch Ness monster.

A complete paper on the findings has been published in the Scottish Journal of Geology.


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