A 230-MILLION-year-old fossil was found last week in Cehegín by a local resident (see photo), according to mayor José Rafael Rocamora.
The fossil (pictured) clearly shows the shape of a Sauropterygia – a sea reptile which lived during the Middle Triassic period.
It was discovered in black limestone rock in the Huerto de la Orden area in the north of the municipality.
It shows the ribs, backbone and body, with only the head missing. The fossil was taken to the regional department for culture headquarters in Murcia city, where palaeontologists established from the shape that it had to be a Sauropterygia.
Regional director for cultural heritage Juan Antonio Lorca said it is the oldest fossil of a vertebrate animal discovered in the region.
It will be temporarily stored in the regional museum for archaeology in Murcia, he noted.