A Doncaster fossil expert has helped to further scientific understanding of a pre-historic marine reptile known as a plesiosaur
Dean Lomax, of Balby, has been working as a palaeontologist for the last seven years and following the discovery of a plesiosaur skull in Morocco in 2011, decided to re-examine a specimen also found in Morocco 2004 which led to a discovery that enabled scientists to see what the animal would have looked like.
Plesiosaurs are a group of extinct marine reptiles that roamed the vast seas of the era of the dinosaurs from 235 to 65.5 million years ago.
The 23-year-old worked with fellow fossil expert, Bill Wahl on the discovery, which has now been published by an academic journal and has led to a brand-new model of a plesiosaur being built.
Dean said: “I have always been interested in palaeontology and making a discovery like this is something I’ve always wanted to do.”
He added: “When I first saw the specimen when I was working at the Wyoming Dinosaur Centre, it seemed strange that they had just left it, assuming it was a different type of plesiosaur.
“I made a note of it, and when I heard about the other specimen found in Morocco I had a hunch it would be connected to the one held in Wyoming - which has been confirmed by academics in a peer review.”
Dean is currently working as a contract assistant curator of palaeontology at Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery.
He is working on a project involving a dinosaur exhibition which is due to be completed early next year.
Visit www.doncaster.gov.uk for details.