Big Fish on Channel 4

On Monday night, Jeff Liston, vertebrate researcher at The Hunterian Museum, will see the culmination of months of involvement with Channel 4's 'The Big Dig' series.

Although Jeff has a leading role in it, the real star of the programme will really be the Jurassic Leedsichthys, the world's biggest ever fish, known as 'Ariston'.

'Ariston' was excavated over the last two years from a brick pit near Peterborough and will be showcased in Monday's episode of the Channel 4 television series 'The Big Monster Dig'. You can see more about the actual dig on a specially created website - - which includes video diaries and more images. The site was created by Richard Forrest.

Later this month, for two days only, you will be able to see another monster fish called Big Meg on display in all her fossilised glory at The Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow.

The Hunterian Museum is home to Big Meg, the most complete specimen of Leedsichthys problematicus - the biggest fish ever to inhabit Earth's oceans.

Big Meg will also be the subject of a forthcoming television programme ヨ this time for the BBC in the next "Walking with Dinosaurs" series.

Measuring over 15 metres in length, these fish would have swam the Middle Jurassic seas 155 million years ago, at a time when dinosaurs dominated the land.

Big Meg is the most complete specimen in any collection in the world and was sold to the Hunterian in 1915 by the Peterborough fossil collector Alfred Leeds, whose wife Mary Ferrier Fergusson came from Glasgow.

When work began to repair the specimen 5 years ago, it consisted of over 900 broken fragments, but after much glueing Big Meg looks a little more like a fish, with many large bones from the fish's skull, as well as some bones from its fins.

Big Meg will be laid out in all her glory in the Hunterian Museum's Kelvin Gallery for Friday 19th and Saturday 20th September only. In addition, displays and experts will inform visitors about this remarkable animal, and look at some of the critical questions surrounding it.

Who found this fish? How could it grow so enormous? What might it have looked like? What did it feed on? Is it still alive today?

This is a unique opportunity for a once in a lifetime look at the biggest Jurassic giant of the seas. (Shoals should book in advance!)

Media Relations Office (

Swimming with the Big Dead Fish is part of the ?Rock On? Scottish Geology Festival 2003.

For further details about the ?Rock On? Scottish Geology Festival events at the Hunterian Museum, or to book, contact Neil Clark on 0141 330 4221 or at

For further details about the ?Rock On? Scottish Geology Festival, check out the Scottish Geology web site at Venue: Kelvin Gallery,

For further information on Ariston or Big Meg, please contact Jeff Liston on 0141 440 4561 or the University of Glasgow Press Office on 0141 330 3535

First published: 8 September 2003