Stardom comes 155 million years too late for Big Meg

Published: 20 November 2003

The spotlight will be on Hunterian Museum's Big Meg during the BBC's Sea Monsters programme this Sunday night

Before recreating the largest fish known to have inhabited Earth's oceans, BBC's Sea Monsters programme talked with Jeff Liston of the University's Hunterian Museum, which has the most complete specimen of a Leedsichthys problematicus - know affectionately as 'Big Meg'.

Leedsichthys measured over 15 metres in length and swam the Middle Jurassic seas 155 million years ago at a time when dinosaurs dominated the land.

"Big Meg has been the corner stone of my research on this animal over the past five years. I'm glad that she will be featuring on Sea Monsters as it is a great way for everyone to learn about the fantastic creatures that lived in our oceans millions of years ago", said Jeff Liston. Jeff is the only person to have closely studied this animal since the 19th century and provided essential information for the BBC programme.

Jeff has been working closely with palaeoartist Bob Nicholls to produce a reconstruction of how Big Meg would have looked when she was alive. Jeff Liston said, "One of the options that we are looking at in the long-term, is the possibility of having a full scale model of the fish suspended in the Main Hall of the Museum". This would be a completely unique attraction, with no other institution having anything like it in the World. It may take some time though as all the bones are so delicate after 150 million years of being buried in clay that they come out of the ground in hundreds of fragments - putting these back together again is incredibly time consuming.

Big Meg was excavated in 1913 and was sold to the Hunterian in 1915 by the Peterborough fossil collector Alfred Leeds, whose wife Mary Ferrier Fergusson came from Glasgow.

Don't forget to tune in to Sea Monsters on BBC1 this Sunday, 23 November at 7.00pm.

To find out more about 'Sea Monsters' and Leedsichthys, visit: Sea Monsters

To find out more about Leedsichthys visit: Big Dead Fish

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For further information please contact Jeff Liston, Hunterian Museum Tel: 0141-330-4561 Email: or the University press office Tel: 0141 330 3535.

First published: 20 November 2003