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Another new ichthyosaur from Germany (news story clarification)



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com

This is a bit confusing and embarrassing. It appears that the new
species of Stenopterygius in PLoS ONE is NOT the new ichthyosaur
announced in the news stories in German I posted last week. After
reading the paper in PLoS ONE and a new set of news stories posted
today in German, and comparing the photos, it is quite clear that the
news stories are about a much bigger ichthyosaur (estimated 7.5 meters
in some reports) that lived roughly at the same time--Middle
Jurassic-- and comes from the same general region of Germany. It is
reportedly a new and yet to be named or described genus. (I don't
known when it will be published.) Canadian researcher Erin Maxwell
rediscovered that specimen, which had been stored away at the
Stuttgart Natural History Museum for 37 years. It comes from 170-175
million years ago, filling a "gap" in ichthyosaur evolution. The
prepared skull is set to go on display in September.

These news stories have photos:

http://www.welt.de/newsticker/news3/article108506702/Experten-identifizieren-riesigen-Schwaebischen-Seedrachen.html

http://www.ftd.de/wissen/natur/:palaeontologie-fischsaurier-schliesst-evolutionsluecke/70073595.html

http://www.n-tv.de/wissen/Fischsaurierfund-fuellt-Fundluecke-article6911346.html

(The photo of the skull from the news stories I linked to last week
does not appear to be the specimen as in these news stories...more
confusion.)

The new species of Stenopterygius mentioned yesterday lived about the
same time (165-176 million years ago) in the Middle Jurassic but was
only about 2 meters long. Both Maxwell and Schoch, who are quoted in
the news stories, were also authors on the Stenopterygius paper.

Here's a news story in German (with photos) about another specimen
attributed to the new species of the "little ichthyosaur"
Stenopterygius that comes from the same Heiningen deposits where the
"big ichthyosaur" mentioned above was found:

http://www.swp.de/goeppingen/lokales/goeppingen/Kleinerer-Fischsaurier-aus-Heiningen-in-Jebenhausen-ausgestellt;art5583,1582831


At some point in the future, a new, fairly big ichthyosaur from
Germany will be described. That is all I am willing to assert at this
stage.


More ichthyosaur news:
http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/08/06/sea-monsters-of-the-north-day-1/