I was invited to talk to Bath Geological Society on 5 November 2020 – fireworks night and the beginning of Lockdown 2 (this time it’s personal) – an auspicious night indeed.
This I’d intended as an insight into the last 200 years of ichthyosaur research – since the first major specimens found by Mary and Joseph Anning in 1810 – through the discovery of numerous new specimens and species, and the work of many people across the world, and onto a couple of questions that I think we are primed to consider and answer in the near future.
I covered a few different things:
- The origin and early evolution of ichthyosaurs – considering the time frame in which the earliest ichthyosaurs appeared and how quickly they diversified.
- Adaptations that ichthyosaurs have to life in the water – including their streamlined body shape, snapping skull, and giving birth to live young.
- Where ichthyosaurs fit in the diversity of other marine reptiles – how this changed through their evolution and towards their eventual extinction.
- How new finds and more detailed studies on singled deposits can show the diversity of single ecosystems affected by single events.
- Prospects for expanding single comparisons within clades to analyses that incorporate and compare the evolution of multiple groups that transitioned from land into water.