Postcards of Ichthyosaurs
A team member at Everything Dinosaur found some beautiful postcards that feature spectacular British fossils, in this case Ichthyosaurs, in one of our offices the other day. We thought we would share a picture of the prehistoric themed postcards on our blog.
A Pair of Prehistoric Postcards Featuring Different Species of Ichthyosaur
Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur
The postcards come from a range of “natural selection prints”, illustrations of spectacular fossils from the UK. They depict scientific illustrations that we think accompanied the description of the species when it was erected.
Ichthyosaurus moorei (Leptonectes moorei)
The postcard (top) shows a plate from the scientific paper that led to the erection of the species Ichthyosaurus moorei. The holotype material associated with this animal comes from Seatown on the Dorset coast (Jurassic Coast). However, as our knowledge of the Ichthyosauria as improved, so fossils associated with I. moorei have been reassigned and placed outside the Ichthyosaurus genus. There are enough distinctive characteristics (autapomorphies), to permit an erection of a separate genus. The genus Leptonectes moorei was established in 1999.
I. breviceps is another species of marine reptile, despite being named a long time ago, in 1881 by Richard Owen (later Sir Richard Owen), it has remained a member of the Ichthyosaurus genus. This type of Ichthyosaurus is also associated with the Jurassic Coast of Dorset. Its fossils are relatively rare when compared to the contemporaneous I. communis. It is characterised by its relatively short, but robust snout. The shape of the jaw suggests that this marine reptile may have fed on different kinds of food compared to other “fish lizards”, it may have been more of a generalist eating a wider variety of prey, an example of niche partitioning within the biota associated with the Lower Jurassic.
An Illustration of a Typical Ichthyosaur – W. massarae
Picture Credit: James McKay