The Sea Dragons of Street

Yesterday I joined up with a friend of mine to travel to Street in Somerset to see the wonderful display of “Sea Dragons”

During the age of the dinosaurs, the ocean was home to many types of ichthyosaur or ”sea dragon”.

They appeared in the Triassic, reached their peak in the Jurassic, then disappeared in the Cretaceous – several million years before the last dinosaurs died out. 

Ichthyosaurs were among the first skeletons to be discovered by early fossil-hunters, at a time when theories of evolution and concepts of geology were in their infancy.

The famous fossil hunter Mary Anning discovered the first complete fossil of an ichthyosaur in the cliffs near Lyme Regis, Dorset, in 1810.

Her discovery shook up the scientific world and provided evidence for new ideas about the history of the Earth.

The display we went to see was a private collection of Icthyosaurs at Street which is fitting as they were all found in the quarries in Street where the Jurassic Blue Lias building stone came from. This stone can be seen in many of the buildings around the town. The collection was only open for a week so we jumped at the opportunity to see these wonderfully preserved fossils. Details of the collection can be found here:Sea Dragons of Street Exhibition

If you get a chance, I would certainly suggest you go. There are some 15 – 20 specimens there and they are very well preserved – even down to the colour of their teeth. They are mounted in near vertical display cases – without glass! – so all the details can clearly be seen.

Picture credit – Chris Martin

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