Fossil ichthyosaur - ROM2015_14839_2


Fossil ichthyosaur

Place Collected
Europe, United Kingdom, England, Devon, Pinhay Bay, Just West of Lyme Regis
Date: Acquired in January 1999
length=259; width=11; height=125 cm
    • Attributes
    • Objects
    • Taxonomy
    • KingdomAnimalia
    • PhylumChordata
    • ClassReptilia
    • OrderIchthyopterygia
    • SuborderMerriamosauriformes
    • FamilyLeptonectidae
    • GenusLeptonectes
    • SpecificEpithettenuirostris
Object number: ROMVP47698
Credit Line: Gift of the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust
On view
Gallery Location:James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs, Life in the Sea Jurassica, Jurassic Ichthyosaurs, Leptonectes
DescriptionIchthyosaurs were reptiles but they did not leave the water to lay their eggs; instead they bore their young live, like whales and dolphins. Ichthyosaurs (“fish-lizards”) are so named for their superficial resemblance to fishes. Most have streamlined bodies with fish-like fins and large crescent-shaped tails like modern tuna, but the tail vertebrae bent downward into the bottom half of the tail fin. Some sharks today show the opposite structure, with their tail vertebrae bending upward. Leptonectes (“slender swimmer”) was one of the few ichthyosaurs to survive the extinction at the end of the Triassic period. Complete skeletons of Leptonectes are rare; this one is the largest of its kind in the world. Its slender snout was armed throughout with sharp slender teeth-ideal for seizing fish. The tip of the snout often extends a little beyond the tip of the lower jaws, giving the animal a small overbite.
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