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Re: Sauropterygian falls?



Daniel Arndt wrote:

That's a very good question. Another interesting fact about some
Ichthyosaurs, specifically _Shonisaurus_, is that the adults are edentulous.
So some suggest that they may have been similar to rorqual whales, as the
hyoid apparatus in this specimen measured nearly 5 feet long.

Thanks for the ref. Nicholls and Manabe (2004) argue that many ichthyosaurs were edentulous as adults. The authors favor _Shonisaurus_ being a suction feeder rather than a filter feeder, and suggest that belemnites and squid were sucked up by the jaws. Thus, modern beaked whales (Ziphiidae) are cited as the closest analog to toothless ichthyosaurs. (I believe that sperm whales are also thought to use suction to gobble up giant squid.)


By this time (Late Triassic) there is evidence of filter-feeding sharks (e.g., _Pseudocetorhinus_), so the large-bodied filter-feeding niche apparently didn't go begging.

Also, this find is dated to be Norian (Late Triassic) in age, so Ichthyosaurs got really big, really fast.

Just like sauropods!


Cheers

Tim