Ichthyosaurs in the news!

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Hello there!

I hope that you have enjoyed/considered/comprehended the last few posts on my PhD plans.  I’ve tried to explain simply, but some of the concepts are unusual or obscure.  From next week I plan to ‘start again’ from the basics of palaeontology and then move on to what vertebrates and evolution etc. actually are!

Some of you may have noticed this piece on the BBC news site yesterday.  A new paper, published in online journal PLoS ONE, by Fisher et al. has described a new species of ichthyosaur from the Lower Cretaceous (~130 Ma): Acamptonectes densus.  Darren Naish, one of the coauthors, has written about this on his wonderful Tetrapod Zoology blog.

The paper also shows that ichthyosaurs were not as strongly affected by the Jurassic–Cretaceous extinction (JCE) as previously thought.  Ophthalmosaurine thunnisaurs (e.g. Ophthalmosaurus) are present either side of the boundary, whereas they were considered to only be present in the Jurassic.

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