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    Ichthyosaurus communis
    Lower Jurassic, Sinemurian Stage
    Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK
    The ancient aquatic reptile, the Ichthyosaur, is closely linked with Lyme Regis on the southern coast of England. The first complete fossil of the animal was discovered there in the early 1800's by 10-year old Mary Anning and in 2000 the largest ever example found anywhere in the world, at a stunning 40 feet in length, was unearthed by fossil hunter Tony Gill. This specimen displays the fantastic state of preservation characteristic of fossils from the area, the "Jurassic Coast" World Heritage Site. It boasts superb three-dimensionality, in particular to the bristling rows of pointed teeth, with lovely woody black patination and superlative bone texture throughout. Much of the curious sclerotic ring remains in the eye socket; this was the bone that supported the animal's eyeball, non-spherical and proportionately the largest of any animal that ever lived. There is even a scattering of the disc-like components of one of the fore-flippers; these small bones suggest evolution from something more like a hand, and it is supposed that the ichthyosaur developed from a land-dwelling creature. Indeed, even back in the water it retained the need to breathe air, but as it adapted to life in the ocean, it developed a sleek, streamlined body, powerful flippers and the ability to dive to great depths, much like today's cetaceans. This is a first-class specimen with minimal restoration, from a world-renowned locality. The skull measures 23½ inches in length, standing out beautifully in high relief and aesthetically contrasting with its pale gray matrix, 37 x 23 inches.

    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2010
    17th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,857

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