Image: Photo 12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

When cider brandy maker Julian Temperley was a child, there was a hidden secret in the family’s back yard that was a source of his fascination. It was a Jurassic fossil that his ancestors had kept buried in the garden since they’d discovered it in 1850. However, Temperley has finally decided to showcase the specimen after nearly 170 years. And he has revealed the startling reason his forefathers kept it under cover.

Image: Joaquin Corbalan/Getty Images

The fossil Temperley’s family discovered in their lime quarry in Langport, Somerset, was a 90 million-year-old ichthyosaurus fossil. This marine reptile existed around Europe and Asia during the end of the Triassic and early Jurassic periods. Scientists believe that the creature was once a land mammal and eventually evolved into an aquatic predator during the latter period.

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