A PREHISTORIC beast which emerged from a Portland quarry is now on display at the island’s museum.

Albion Stone was amazed when they discovered the fossil of a turtle, thought to be 145 million years old dating from the Jurassic period.

The rare find excited geologists who said the only other near complete shell of a turtle was found on Portland in the 19th century.

The fossil can now be seen by locals as it has taken pride of place in its new home of Portland Museum.

The museum, in Wakeham, has a geology exhibition and this has been given a revamp thanks to cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Dorset County Council.

Portland Museum Trust director Roy Pepperell, who oversees the Stone Room where the turtle is on display, said: “As a particularly valued addition to the museum’s exhibits, the fossil will provide visitors with an opportunity to experience a rare and unique example of our local palaeontology.”

The 35cm-long fossil was found split in half within two massive blocks of Portland Whit Bed stone in Albion Stone’s Jordan’s Quarry last summer. The find was made by Diane Godden, wife of quarry manager Mark.

Experts say that as a primitive turtle, this specimen (hylaeochelys) could help provide new information about the species.

Albion Stone managing director Michael Poultney said. “This was a surprise discovery but we are pleased that this rare and interesting turtle fossil has been found in Jordan’s Quarry.

Earth science manager from Dorset County Council’s Jurassic Coast team Richard Edmonds said: “This is an amazing find and the guys on the ground have done a great job in recognising and recovering the fossil.”

• The museum is open from Fridays to Mondays 11am-4.30pm.