Scientists have discovered a missing link between a Jurassic era sea bound reptile and its terrestrial counterpart. A team led by researchers from UC Davis announced last week that they discovered the amphibious ichthyosaur fossil in China’s Anhui Province. The dolphinlike marine reptile thrived in Jurassic seas about 200 million to 145 million years ago, in the age of the dinosaurs. It could grow to 65 feet (20 meters) in length, which is about the size of a sperm whale. UC Davis Earth and Planetary Sciences Professor Ryosuke Motani led the team that discovered the fossil. He’s also the lead author of a full report on the discovery that was published in the journal Nature on November 5.
- UC Davis News And Information: First amphibious ichthyosaur discovered, filling evolutionary gap
- Insight Archives: April 26, 2011, Insight: Dinosaur Research
- National Geographic: First Amphibious "Sea Monster" Found; Fills Evolutionary Gap
- UC Davis News: April 2011: The Yes have it: Some dinosaurs were nocturnal
- Nature (requires subscription): A basal ichthyosauriform with a short snout from the Lower Triassic of China