“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.


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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