Paleontologists recently discovered a rare “fish-lizard” in northeastern Utah.

A team of Utah State Parks paleontologists is studying a fossilized marine reptile that was found along the shores of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

The ancient creature is called an ichthyosaur or fish lizard. It looks like a prehistoric dolphin with fangs, except it is more of a fish than a mammal.

The fossil consists of a fore fin, vertebrae, and ribs. The average size of an ichthyosaur could be as big as an adult dolphin to a small whale. It had a similar snout and compact fins with a tail built for swimming fast.

It’s important to note, ichthyosaurs are not dinosaurs but prehistoric marine reptiles that lived in the Mesozoic Era.

The ichthyosaur fossil was first discovered by Alan Dailey while boating. He immediately contacted the Utah state paleontologists with pictures of his unique discovery.

Once the study is done, the fossil will be displayed at the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum.

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