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Triassic ichthyosaur from Alaska with gut contents



Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com

In the new JVP:

Patrick S. Druckenmiller, Neil Kelley, Michael T. Whalen, Christopher
Mcroberts & Joseph G. Carter (2014)
An Upper Triassic (Norian) ichthyosaur (Reptilia, Ichthyopterygia)
from northern Alaska and dietary insight based on gut contents.
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 34(6):  1460-1465
DOI:10.1080/02724634.2014.866573
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02724634.2014.866573


>From the text:

The skeleton, UAMES 2437, is significant in several regards. First,
its identity as an ichthyosaurian is confirmed, making it the first
ichthyosaur ever found in Alaska and also the largest and most
complete specimen of this clade known from the state. The skeleton is
one of only a handful of other identifiable ichthyosaurs known from
Alaska (Druckenmiller and Maxwell, 2013) and represents the
northernmost occurrence of any well-preserved Triassic ichthyosaur in
North America. Given that the global record of ichthyosaur diversity
from the Late Triassic—and particularly the Norian—is poor, the
specimen helps to bridge the evolutionary gap between the much better
known faunas from the Middle Triassic and Early Jurassic. The specimen
is particularly remarkable in preserving a discrete mass of comminuted
remains of vertebrates and invertebrates within the body cavity that
are most easily interpreted as gut contents, thereby providing
valuable insight into the diet and ecology of Late Triassic
ichthyosaurs.

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