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RE: marine reptile McMenu
Andrew Simpson wrote:
> And you can't count out
> plankton either despite these creatures not having the
> usual plankton feeding devices. They might have sifted
> them out using their tongues. Though one would think
> that if they did this the fossil record would have a
> few baleen Sea reptiles in there somewhere.
Aside from the large marine crocodilian _Stomatosuchus_, there is no evidence
filter-feeding sea reptiles in the Mesozoic, AFAIK. The closest they came was
suction feeding, rather than true filter feeding. Nicholls and Manabe (2004)
suggest that large, toothless (as adults) ichthyosaurs might have been suction
feeders (e.g., _Shonisaurus_), and that prey such as belemnites and squid were
sucked up by the jaws. Thus, modern beaked whales (Ziphiidae) may be the
closest modern analogs to edentulous ichthyosaurs.
Today, several lineages of neoselachians (sharks, rays) are filter-feeders, and
at least some (like the megamouths) first appear in the late Mesozoic. There
is evidence of filter-feeding sharks as far back as the Late Triassic
(_Pseudocetorhinus_, a ?synechodontiform); and large filter-feeding teleosts
are known in the Jurassic (_Leedischthys_). So we know there were large
filter-feeding vertebrates in the Mesozoic. But so far, none of them are
sauropterygians or ichthyosaurs.
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