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| YOU ARE VIEWING ARTICLE - ID:20130811021 |
|Title:||Doncaster’s Most Fabulous Fossil Fizzy Has Come Home|
|Author:||Doncaster Museum |
|ID & Publication:||20130811021 ~ The-Villager.co.uk |
Fizzy the Ichthyosaur, has been returned to Doncaster Museum in time for the summer holidays and is looking fabulous, ready for visitors.
It went away for some preparation, investigation and conservation work as part of a project funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
Fizzy’s unusual name was chosen from hundreds of competition entrants when it featured in the museum’s Fabulous Fossils exhibition in 2009/10.
Ichthyosaurs are extinct marine reptiles that superficially resemble sharks and dolphins.
They are not swimming dinosaurs, although often mistaken for them, and the largest ichthyosaurs may have grown to around 23m (75 ft).
Councillor Bob Johnson, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, said: ‘Fizzy is part of our fantastic fossil collection that visitors have said they want to see more of.
‘Fizzy went away to have some work done as part of a project to revitalise the collections that was launched in response to visitor feedback and has been funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. The work included an operation that has shed more light on Fizzy.
‘Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery is a great family day out and Fizzy is just one of many attractions it is home to. We have an incredible collection here which people should be proud of.’
Fizzy was rediscovered in the museum’s collections by Doncaster palaeontologist Dean Lomax, who is an assistant curator at Doncaster Museum and holds an honorary research post at Manchester University, in 2008.
The specimen was originally discovered in the late 1970s along the Dorset Coast, around Charmouth and Seatown, near Lyme Regis. It is believed a fin was found exposed and then the rest of the fossil skeleton, to which it belonged, was uncovered, before being put back together to make it more attractive for sale, as commercial fossil dealers want to make the fossil’s more displayable.
It represents an almost complete skeleton including a well preserved skull with teeth and is roughly 183 million years old.
Fizzy also comes complete with its last meal before it died.
Doncaster Council's Museum Service received £82,785 from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to undertake the project called CIRCA, which is an acronym for Catalogued, Interpreted, Researched, Conserved, Accessible. The aim is to research, revitalise and care for the museum’s fossil collection.
During its time away Fizzy was cleaned and conserved, this included the filling of cracks that were present in the specimen since it was collected, helping to fully stabilize the fossil.
An operation by renowned palaeontologist Nigel Larkin saw the removal of two humeri bones (upper arm bone) and rock from the specimen to find out if it had been reset correctly when it was originally found and to confirm the fossil is one complete specimen. As part of the research one of the humeri was taken to the Royal Veterinary College, University of London, where it was CT scanned by Professor John Hutchinson.
The work has shown that shortly after Fizzy died one of its decomposing fins had become loose, flipped over, and preserved at the side of the other fin which sadly had eroded away. This is why the fin on the specimen is the 'wrong way' round as that is how the collector found it.
Hover over each picture for a description, or click to load larger image.
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