‘I’ve never seen anything like it’: Impeccably preserved Jurassic fish fossils found at UK farm

A fossilized Pachycormus, an extinct genus of ray-finned fish.
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A farm in England was the unlikely source of the Jurassic jackpot: a treasure trove of 183 million-year-old fossils. On the outskirts of Gloucestershire in the Cotswolds, beneath the ground currently being trampled under the hooves of grazing cattle, researchers have recently uncovered fossilized remains of fish, giant marine reptiles called ichthyosaurs, squid, insects and other ancient animals dating to early times. The Jurassic period (201.3 million to 145 million years ago).

Of the more than 180 fossils recorded during the excavation, one outstanding example was a fish head preserved in three dimensions. pachykormus, an extinct genus of ray-finned fish. The fossil, which the researchers found embedded in a hardened lump of limestone from clay, was exceptionally well preserved and contained scales and soft tissues, including an eye. The 3-dimensional nature of the pose of the specimen’s head and body was such that the researchers were unable to compare it to any previous finding.

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