Vote for your favourite Dorset fossil

PUBLISHED: 18:59 11 September 2020 | UPDATED: 18:59 11 September 2020

Pliosaurus, one of the contenders in the Marine Reptile category Illustration Mark Witton

Pliosaurus, one of the contenders in the Marine Reptile category Illustration Mark Witton

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Dorset’s Jurassic Coast is famous for its prehistoric discoveries - but which ones do you love the most?

The Jurassic Coast Trust is asking people to vote for their favourite prehistoric creatures as part of their new ‘Big Five’ fossils campaign running over the next few months. Everyone who votes will have the chance of winning an exceptional 170 million-year-old fossilised piece of Jurassic seabed rich with ammonites, belemnites and sea-shells, and a magnificent Parkinsonia ammonite as its centrepiece - generously donated to the Trust by David Sole and prepared by Lizzie Hingley.

170 million-year-old fossil that will be given to the winner Photo: Jurassic Coast Trust170 million-year-old fossil that will be given to the winner Photo: Jurassic Coast Trust

The first selection of prehistoric creatures up for the vote was Marine Predators, featuring some of the most fearsome beasts ever to have swum in our waters: Pliosaur, Ichthyosaur, Plesiosaurs, Hybodus sharks, and prehistoric crocodiles, which inhabited the rivers and lagoons of Dorset during the Cretaceous period, were in this group which was won by the Ichthyosaur, which took 37% of the vote. They are now officially one of the Jurassic Coast Big Five!

Ichthyosaur, jumping for joy after winning the Marine Reptile category! Illustration Mark WittonIchthyosaur, jumping for joy after winning the Marine Reptile category! Illustration Mark Witton

The next category is Terrestrial (Land) Predator. Hoping to get your vote are: Ctenosauriscids (proto-crocodiles) early predatory reptiles that roamed the deserts of the Triassic hunting for prey; Temnospondyl a bizarre Triassic amphibian measuring around 4m that resembled a giant toad with sharp teeth. Dimorphodon, a flying reptile with a short snout and rows of sharp teeth, the best specimen from the Jurassic Coast was found by Lyme Regis-based palaeontologist Mary Anning; Duriavenator a fearsome theropod dinosaur, weighing in around 1 tonne and up to 9m in length, that roamed the Jurassic Coast in search of other dinosaurs to eat - Dorset’s version of a Tyrannosaurus Rex; and Cynodonts a tiny rodent-like creatures no bigger than rats that scurried around on the forest floor of the Jurassic islands these are the ancestors of modern mammals.

Duriavenator, Dorset's own T.Rex Illustration: Mark WittonDuriavenator, Dorset's own T.Rex Illustration: Mark Witton

Find more details about these incredible creatures when you vote online where you can see stunning original artwork by Mark Witton of each creature and read a blog telling you all about these prehistoric creatures unique characteristics.Vote for your favourite creatures at jurassiccoast.org/big-five

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