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Giant ichthyosaur radius from Jurassic of Wales
From: Ben Creisler
A new online paper:
Jeremy E. Martin, Peggy Vincent, Guillaume Suan, Tom Sharpe, Peter
Hodges, Matt Williams, Cindy Howells, and Valentin Fischer (2014)
A mysterious giant ichthyosaur from the lowermost Jurassic of Wales.
Acta Palaeontologica Polonica (in press)
Ichthyosaurs rapidly diversified and colonised a wide range of
ecological niches during the Early and Middle Triassic period, but
experienced a major decline in diversity near the end of the Triassic.
Timing and causes of this demise and the subsequent rapid radiation of
the diverse, but less disparate, parvipelvian ichthyosaurs are still
unknown, notably because of inadequate sampling in strata of latest
Triassic age. Here, we describe an exceptionally large radius from
Lower Jurassic deposits at Penarth near Cardiff, South Wales (UK) the
morphology of which places it within the giant Triassic shastasaurids.
A tentative total body size estimate, based on a regression analysis
of various complete ichthyosaur skeletons, yields a value of 12-15 m.
The specimen is substantially younger than any previously reported
last known occurrences of shastasaurids and implies a Lazarus range in
the lowermost Jurassic for this ichthyosaur morphotype.