Up to £300,000 needed to excavate Attenborough dinosaur body

MORE work is needed to excavate the giant dinosaur fossil that featured in a David Attenborough documentary

The BBC’s Attenborough and the Giant Sea Monster aired on New Year’s Day, with the giant pliosaur skull on display at the Etches Collection in Kimmeridge shortly after. 

READ MORE: Sir David Attenborough BBC show features “momentous” pliosaur discovery in Dorset  

It was discovered and donated by Philip Jacobs, a fabric designer who has dedicated more than 40 years of his life to the search for fossils. 

But more work is needed to safely excavate the pliosaur’s body, which remains firmly fixed in the ground. 

It will cost somewhere between £100,000 and £300,000. 

The museum is calling for donations to “rescue the Sea Rex”, with the money supporting both financial and logistical elements of the work. 

Philip Jacobs discovered the pliosaur in April 2022. Photo: Philip Jacobs.

Philip Jacobs discovered the pliosaur in April 2022. Photo: Philip Jacobs.

READ MORE: BBC pliosaur Philip Jacobs: The man behind the “Sea Monster” 

Speaking to your Purbeck Gazette, Philip Jacobs described the difficult process of excavating an ichthyosaur – his second most famous discovery. 

He was struggling to access the skeleton when his friend Steve Etches arrived and explained that for a discovery of this size it’s paramount you dig a large trench into the rock and remove it one piece at a time.

But the sheer size presented a logistical problem.

“I thought the whole thing was going to fall to bits,” Philip said. “We just couldn’t shift it.”

But then, it came out.

They’d initially planned to carry the blocks to Philip’s car, but it was parked two miles away and they’d been forced to sit down every 100 metres to rest.

Instead, they arranged for a small inflatable boat to ferry the ichthyosaur to safety.

Philip said: “It was the first time she’d had a swim in 153 million years.”

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