Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Geological Time The Story Of A Changing Earth
Fossil Evidence
Evidence Image
Common Name:

Scientific Name:
Ichthyosaurus sp.

Time Period:
200-146 mya

Age range:
Early Jurassic, 195-180 mya

Key Localities:

Skeleton of Ichthyosaurus. Ichthyosaurs were fast-swimming reptiles that evolved in the Triassic and lasted almost to the end of the Cretaceous. They had a body shape like that of a tuna or dolphin, with a narrow body and large dorsal and tail fins to propel them through the water in search of fish. Ichthyosaurs gave birth to live young in the water, therefore eliminating the need to go onto dry land to lay eggs. This young specimen was about 1.32 m (52 inches) long, but other ichthyosaurs reached lengths of 23 m (75 ft.). Photo by Steve Jabo, NMNH.


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