Ichthyosaur - ROM2004_1028_24



Geography: England, Dorset: Lyme Regis
Date: Acquired in January 1999
length=270; width=9; height=250 cm
    • Attributes
    • Objects
    • Taxonomy
    • KingdomAnimalia
    • PhylumChordata
    • ClassReptilia
    • OrderIchthyopterygia
    • FamilyLeptonectidae
    • GenusExcalibosaurus
    • SpecificEpithetcostini
Object number: 47697
Credit Line: Gift of the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust
On view
DescriptionIchthyosaurs were reptiles but they did not leave the water to lay their eggs; instead they bore their young live, like whales and dolphins. Ichthyosaurs (“fish-lizards”) are so named for their superficial resemblance to fishes. Most have streamlined bodies with fish-like fins and large crescent-shaped tails like modern tuna, but the tail vertebrae bent downward into the bottom half of the tail fin. Some sharks today show the opposite structure, with their tail vertebrae bending upward. Excalibosaurus was named for its long sword-like snout; like the legendary sword of King Arthur, the specimen with its snout was extracted from the rock. This specimen of Excalibosaurus is the best preserved example of this genus of ichthyosaur known in the world, and is one of only two described specimens. Excalibosaurus appears to be an intermediate link between the ichthyosaur Leptonectes (“slender swimmer”), which was one of the few genera to survive the mass extinction at the end of the Triassic, and the geologically later ichthyosaur called Eurhinosaurus.
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