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Ichthyosaurus fossilised in mid-birth ??

--- Roberto Takata <rmtakata@gmail.com> wrote:

> (Where was that ichthyosaur giving birth to a baby from?)

    I have weak memories of seeing pictures of this specimen, but on
being reminded of it, my first feeling is "what an improbably small
proportion of an ichthyosaur's life to get captured by an uncommonly
rapid preservation event!" I then temporised a little - could the
ichthyosaur have died in the process of giving birth (surely an event
comparably stressful with mammalian birth), and then been buried fast
enough to beat 'bloat and float' syndrome? Or perhaps a gravid
ichthyosaur died and the foetus was (partly) expelled as part of the
process that leads to bloating and floating?
    It still strikes me as being decidedly improbable though. Maybe not
as improbable sounding as the "fighting protoceratops" reported from
somewhere in the vicinity of Mongolia (Sorry - the notes I made are on
my home computer 250 miles ashore. ISTR a jawcracker of an Eastern
European name being associated with the find.) In fact, the prospect of
a sensible desert-dwelling organism being out on the prowl in a
sandstorm capable of depositing metres-plus of sand in one event sounds
pretty implausible too. Such weather-disrespecting bloodlines ought to
have been culled from the species generations earlier.
    I don't have much access to the 'net here (the ship's sat.link gets
reset with depressing frequency). Does anyone have pointers to more
recent work on either of these specimens? ISTR that the "fighting
protoceratopsian" I last looked up the other side of the Y2K problem.

Aidan Karley,

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