ichthyosauria

ICHTHYOSAURUS
“Fish lizard”
Late Triassic-early Jurassic, 206-180 million years ago

Though it lived at the same time, Ichthyosaurus was not a dinosaur. And though it looks a bit like a modern dolphin, it wasn’t a mammal (or even a fish!). Ichthyosaurus was a reptile, and it lends its name to an entire group of similar marine reptiles: the ichthyosaurs (“fish lizards”). Ichthyosaurs mostly ate fish, and probably hunted near the water’s surface using their large eyes. And, based on juvenile fossils found inside adults, they gave birth to live young, just like your mother. Ohhhhhhh.

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A study of Saurian morphology: Ichthyosauromorpha (part 3)

Cute. Fish. Lizards.

These three genera represent the diversity ichthyosaurs throughout the Jurassic before their numbers declined in Late Jurassic: Temnodontosaurus, known for being one of the larger predatory ichthyosaurs; Excalibosaurus, named after the sword Excalibur for its swordfish-like appearance; and Ophthalmosaurus, famed for its proportionally large eyes which might likely be useful for low-light hunting at night or deeper parts of the ocean.

I’m done with all these daily saurs holy crap. Expect to see the updated phylogenetic tree sometime throughout the week. Also, uploaded this one day early because I’ll be out of town tomorrow.

My next daily project will involve… snails. Blame @cyan-biologist for it.

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Ancient Sea Monsters: Misidentified Fossilized Skeletons Now Revealing Hidden History of Ichthyosaur

The fossilized skeletons of strange creatures—odd, beaked fish with teeth and ‘feet’—were uncovered by quarry workers in southwestern England in the early 1800’s. Dubbed “fish lizards” (or Ichthyosauria) at the time, the old discoveries are now under new examination and the results are surprising paleontologists.

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