The largest marine reptile ever found was comparable in size to blue whales.  

Blue whales were Earth's largest animals. They are the animal kingdom's uncontested heavyweight champions, measuring nearly 30 meters and weighing 200 tons.  

On a Somerset beach, British paleontologists uncovered the remnants of an ichthyosaur, a marine lizard that could challenge whales.  

“It is quite remarkable to think that gigantic, blue-whale-sized ichthyosaurs were swimming in the oceans around what was the UK during the Triassic Period,” said University of Manchester paleontologist Dean Lomax, who led the study.  

Since 250 million years ago, ichthyosaurs lived in the waters.  

Most species possessed vertical tail fins that extended downward and four paddle-like arms. They looked like enormous reptile dolphins with elongated, narrow mouths lined with teeth.   

Several were big. Shonisaurus sikanniensis, a huge ichthyosaur, has the largest skeleton recovered in British Columbia, Canada, at 21 meters. It appears they could become larger.  

Somerset yielded a surangular, a long, curving bone found in all reptiles behind the teeth at the top of the lower jaw.   

Compared to the Shonisaurus sikanniensis surangular, the bone was 25% larger at 2.3 meters.   

Simple scaling and assuming the same body proportions, Lomax's team estimated this newly unearthed ichthyosaur's size at 22–26 meters, making it the largest marine reptile known. Just one more thing.  

The investigators did not detect the external fundamental system (EFS), a tissue ring in the bone's outermost cortex, in the surangular.  

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