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Ichthyosaurus communis (5) bone

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  • Product Code: F23305
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Description

Origin : England (Dorset County, English Cannel - Ozan Formation)

Geological era : Early Jurassic (Hettangian)

Age : 200 million of years


real fossil ichthyosaur bone section, sea-reptile, 58.9 gr, cm 4.1 x 7 x 2.4, only a piece, as in pictures.

Ichthyosaurus is an extinct marine reptile, lived in the Lower Jurassic in Europe. This animal gives the name to the entire group of ichthyosaurs.
The Ichthyosaurus communis is one of the best known, and its fossils are relatively frequent in the oldest Jurassic rocks in England and Germany. Some fossils have retained the imprint of the outer surface of the body, which demonstrates how the ichthyosaur was endowed with a fleshy fin on the back and a crescent fin at the end of the tail, supported by the last caudal vertebrae that were articulated downwards. Similar impressions have also been found on the remains of the related Stenopterygius, demonstrating that many ichthyosaurs had similar structures. About 2 meters long, the ichthyosaur was certainly not a large animal; its prey must have been small fish or soft-bodied molluscs like cephalopods, which were grasped between the long conical teeth. Coprolites of ichthyosaurs containing scales of fish (Pholidophorus) and numerous hooks of tentacles of cephalopods (belemnites) are evidence of the diet of these animals.
The ear bones of the ichthyosaur were very robust, and probably led to the vibrations of the water in the inner ear. However, the main sense that the ichthyosaur relied on during hunting had to be the sight: this predator possessed huge, very sensitive round eyes, protected by bones that formed a structure called a sclerotic ring. Other ichthyosaurs (like Ophthalmosaurus) possessed even larger eyes.
The ichthyosaur was the first of the Mesozoic marine reptiles to be discovered. The first finding was a beautiful skeleton found by Mary Anning, on the cliffs of Lyme Regis, in 1810. In the same period the Plesiosaurus was also discovered. Most scholars thought that these remains belonged to a crocodile, since at first only the skull was found. Only at a later time, when all the skeleton came to light, the animal was studied in detail and was given the name of Ichthyosaurus ("lizard - fish"), not without some paleontological disputes. From that moment on, many finds of ichthyosaurs in various parts of the world ended up under the name of Ichthyosaurus, turning this taxon into a real "waste bin". Only after careful analyzes carried out towards the end of the twentieth century, the commonly accepted species belonging to the genus have been reduced to three: I. communis (the type species), I. breviceps and I. conybeari.



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