Sure, they had been monumental. Sure, they regarded like trendy dolphins (mammals) or sharks (fish) however they had been really reptiles. And at last, no, they weren’t dinosaurs. Ichthyosaurs have gotten to be one in all my favorite teams of extinct reptiles and a terrific instance of convergent evolution.
In the event you go to a pure historical past or palaeontology museum, you might be prone to come throughout at the least one specimen of the ichthyosaur group. This extinct group of aquatic reptiles are distant family members of modern-day Lepidosauria reptilians, together with my beloved tuatara!
They first appeared round 248 million years in the past in the beginning of the Triassic interval. Fossils counsel that early specimens regarded like lizards with flippers, such because the Chaohusaurus (present in China) and the Utatsusaurs (present in Japan). Nevertheless, they had been the primary Tetrapod to achieve actual gigantic sizes. Examples would come with specimens of the Shastasauridae household, which first appeared in the midst of the Triassic interval (circa 240 million years in the past).
I imagine that the most important species file to this point is the Shonisaurus sikanniensis present in British Columbia, Canada – or at the least the most important specimen whose species palaeontologists had been capable of decide from its stays. This specimen is at present on show on the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta, Canada and is a whopping 21 metres lengthy.
In actuality, even greater species, or at the least specimens, are prone to have existed. Dr Dean Lomax wrote an extremely informative article about Ichthyosaurs again in October 2018 the place he discusses his (and his crew’s) discovering of an enormous piece of ichthyosaur jaw bone collected from Somerset in England. This discovering means that the complete specimen may have measured an estimated 26 metres lengthy. Nevertheless, due to the fragmented nature of the stays, they had been unable to determine the species. If you need to know extra about Ichthyosaurs, I’d extremely suggest that you just learn his article!
Now, in the beginning of this weblog put up, I discussed that they weren’t dinosaurs and for most of the people who learn my weblog, this will probably be a ‘yeah, duh’ assertion. Nevertheless, I feel it’s fairly clear that most of the people doesn’t essentially know what a dinosaur is – if it’s large, extinct and resembles an outdated lizard-like monster in modern-day drawing representations, it’s a dinosaur. We’ve all skilled one type or one other of somebody pointing at a pterodactyl specimen at a museum or on TV and stating ‘Take a look at that dinosaur!’.