Superb Ichthyosaur Paddle with Associated Ribs

from Holzmaden in Germany

Stenopterygius sp

Class Reptilia, Order Ichthyosauria, Family Stenopterygiidaee

Geological Time: Early Jurassic, Upper Lias (Epsilon) (~ 200 million years ago)

Size: Fossil is 180 overall Paddle:150 mm by 50 mm; Matrix: 250 mm by 170 mm

Fossil Site: Holzmaden, Southwestern Germany

Fossil Code: GF132

Price: Sold

Ichthyosaur FossilDescription: This is a superb articulated right forelimb of an Ichthyosaur known as Stenopterygius, one of a line of ‘fish lizards” whose morphology was convergent upon the modern-day porpoises. It used its lunate tail fro propulsion and its narrow fins to maintain trim and for steering. To date, no ancestral reptile that gave rise to the Ichthyosaurs has been found. We do know that the early ones had five digits in each fin which later Ichthyosaurprogressed by the addition of accessory digits with many phalanges. This was a small-sized Ichthyosaur at an average of 3 meters in length. The last example of an ichthyosaur was that of Platypterygius found in 93.5 million year old deposits in Bavaria, marking the end of a line that began in the Triassic, a reign of some 160 million years. Why they became extinct while the Plesiosaurs persisted up to the end-Cretaceous extinction event over 25 million years later is a mystery. This specimen is seen in association with a number of ribs at the upper edge of the matrix plate, and has a hanger affixed on the reverse to display on the wall of a den or office.

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