New species of prehistoric beasties are identified fairly often. However, they're not always found under such circumstances as a new species of 200 million-year-old ichthyosaur at the University of Bristol. The specimen had actually been in the university's collection since 1930, what was a donation from the City Museum, which acquired the fossil in 1915.
"It's quite amazing -- hundreds of people must walk past this skeleton every day, yet its secrets have only just been uncovered," said Dean Lomax of the University of Manchester in a statement.
During a study of British ichthyosaurs, a kind of prehistoric marine reptile, the team identified features in the skull and fins of the specimen that distinguished it as a separate species.
"We've named the species Ichthyosaurus larkini in honour of the British palaeontologist Nigel Larkin -- the name Larkin actually means 'fierce' so it's quite fitting for a fast-moving predator," Lomax said.
Funnily enough, this isn't the first ichthyosaur found in such a manner. Earlier this year, Lomax identified another 200-million-year-old ichthyosaur that had been at Leicester's New Walk Museum since 1951.