A replica of the jaw of a prehistoric pliosaur nicknamed ‘Doris’ which lived 150 million years ago is coming back home to Westbury this summer.

The six-foot lower part of the skull of the huge ocean-dwelling predator is now on display in Bristol City Museum’s vertebrate fossil collection.

It was discovered by amateur geologist Simon Carpenter in a Westbury clay pit in 1994 and is being brought back to Westbury for a special exhibition in the town’s museum from August 1-13.

Sally Hendry, chair of Westbury Heritage Society, which runs Westbury Museum, said: “We are so pleased to be welcoming back Westbury’s oldest resident.

“The last time this was on display in Wiltshire was for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, so it’s very appropriate it is returning in this Royal year.

“The exhibition, which will feature artwork, multi-media, sound and special information packs for younger visitors, will be in Westbury Museum, which is on the first floor of the town library.

“This promises to be a great exhibition and will give visitors a real opportunity to look into the history of this extraordinary creature.”

When she was unearthed by Mr Carpenter in Westbury, the pliosaur’s discovery made national headlines.

She was found to be the world’s only example of a new species of pliosaur, which was named Pliosaurus carpenteri in Mr Carpenter’s honour.

She has since been nicknamed ‘Doris’ by the Bristol City Museum staff, whom Mrs Hendry thanked for their “brilliant cooperation”.

Entry to the exhibition is free but donations are welcome, giving Westbury residents time to get up close to the fossil and get a taste of what life was like for the gigantic beasts that once roamed the earth. 

Mrs Hendry added: ““The pliosaur was at the top of the food chain and described as one of the scariest sea creatures that ever lived. It would have swam in the warm Jurassic seas around 150 million years ago.

“We are borrowing the replica of the lower part of the skull. It’s about six feet long. The pliosaur would have had a large head with huge jaws and teeth the size of bananas.

“It moved swiftly in pursuit of prey, thanks to its streamlined tear-shaped body and its four massive paddles.

“It was capable of swallowing its prey whole and its bite force was 48,728 Newtons. Ours is 749.”

The museum is also staging a talk on the pliosaur by Professor Judyth Sassoon, from Bristol University Professor, on Tuesday, July 26.