Washington — A jawbone fossil found on a rocky English beach belongs to one of the biggest marine animals on record, a type of seagoing reptile called an ichthyosaur that scientists estimated at up to 26m long — approaching the size of a blue whale. Scientists said on Monday this ichthyosaur, which appears to be the largest marine reptile ever discovered, lived 205-million years ago at the end of the Triassic period, dominating the oceans just as dinosaurs were becoming the undisputed masters on land. The bone, called a surangular, was part of its lower jaw. The researchers estimated the animal’s length by comparing this surangular to the same bone in the largest ichthyosaur skeleton ever found, a species called Shonisaurus sikanniensis from British Columbia that was 21m long. The newly discovered bone was 25% larger. "This bone belonged to a giant," said University of Manchester paleontologist Dean Lomax. "The entire carcass was probably very similar to a whale fall in which a dead...

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