Perhaps the most beautiful ichthyosaur: Eurhinosaurus

Ichthyosaurs are those dolphin-like reptiles of the Triassic, Jurassic and Early Cretaceous. They are derived from Permian mesosaurs, Triassic wumengosaurs, shastasaurs, hupehsuchids and thaisaurs.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,
but I present, for your consideration, Eurhinosaurus as, perhaps, the most beautifully proportioned of the ichthyosaurs (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Eurhinosaurus, a derived ichthyosaur, in several views.

Figure 1. Eurhinosaurus, a derived ichthyosaur, in several views. Click to enlarge. This may be the most beautiful of all ichthyosaurs, despite its mosquito-like skull.

Eurhinosaurus is immediately distinguished
from all other ichthyosaurs by its long rostrum and shorter mandible. The large size of the orbit is also unique as are the slender proportions. A more typically proportioned, yet closely related ichthyosaur, is Leptonectes (Fig. 2), which has another odd autapomorphy: the temporal regions of the skull wrap around the back of the skull.

Figure 2. Leptonectes, a closely related, but more generally proportioned ichthyosaur.

Figure 2. Leptonectes, a closely related, but more generally proportioned ichthyosaur. But note how the temporal regions of the skull have wrapped around the back.

By the way,
there was a tremendous upsurge (3x normal number of visitors) of interest yesterday in the blogpost on pterosaur wing shape. This was on a day that did not have a blogpost. Not sure what that means, but something must be coming up on this subject soon — unless it was some sort of school assignment.

wiki/Eurhinosaurus
wiki/Leptonectes

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