Alan Dailey was boating at the reservoir in May when he spotted a large fossilized fish in a sandstone, he immediately contacted the state paleontologists and sent photos. Experts found that Dailey had discovered the fossilized vertebrae, fore fin, and ribs from an animal known as an ichthyosaur, or “fish-lizard,” that lived during the Late Jurassic epoch.

Ichthyosaurs are marine reptiles that were similar to dolphins with long snout and conical teeth, streamlined bodies, and tails that are built for speed. They swam during the Mesozoic era shortly before the extinction of the dinosaurs, a time span of almost 130 million years.

Dailey’s fossil find is now residing in the Utah Field House of Natural History in Vernal.

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