NATURALIST Sir David Attenborough visited Dorset County Museum to unveil a jaw-dropping display of a giant sea monster.

Fossil enthusiast Sir David described the fossilised skull of the pliosaur discovered in Weymouth Bay as ‘magnificent’ and ‘stupendous’.

The fossil of a huge marine reptile, which roamed the seas 155 million years ago, is going on public display today.

At a special unveiling event, Sir David pulled back a cover to reveal the 2.4m skull, which is 95 per cent complete and has been carefully put together by experts.

The creature is believed to have had the biggest bite of all time, powerful enough to break a car in half.

The discovery was first revealed in October, 2009 after fossil collector Kevan Sheehan, from Osmington, had spent five years recovering the various sections of the skull.

Sir David said: “It’s magnificent.

“I’ve heard all about it, for people interested in Jurassic fossils it’s a famous thing and I’ve been following the story.

“Certainly it was stupendous when I took the cloth off.”

Sir David told the Echo that he regularly visited the Jurassic Coast and was well aware of the area’s historical importance and the delights it has to offer.

He said: “I’m well aware that the fossils of the Dorset coast are amongst the most important in the world for their period and this is the birth place of modern palaeontology.”

Sir David praised the quality of the display and said he was pleased to see the fossil kept in Dorset for local people to come and view to find out more about the amazing history on their doorstep.

He said: “It’s part of their history.

“I think it’s magnificent and I’m impressed with the preparation.

“It’s very important that museums like this should retain the gems that come from their area.”

Pliosaur expert Richard Forrest said it was possible the specimen on show could be a previously undiscovered species and tests were being carried out to determine if it was.

He added: “We are still finding out new things, one of them is there are some bite marks on the skull and quite possibly this beast was killed by something even larger.”

Mr Forrest described the fossil as ‘the best of its type in the world’.

Fossil preparator Scott Moore-Fay spent around 1,000 hours preparing the skull for display.

Dorset County Museum director Jon Murden said: “It’s a tremendous asset, for the museum to have a world class specimen like this, possibly a unique species, is fantastic.”

The museum is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm and, for this weekend only, on Sunday.