One helluva huge icthyosaur

Another great painting by paleoartist Gabriel Lugueto. As only part of a jaw bone has been found of this particular species (at the base of a British seaside cliff) and since matched to some other enormous stray bones in British museums, this is some wild extrapolation, but still, it belonged to one hell of a huge ichthyosaur. 85’ long is the usual paleontological guesstimate, which would put the Lilock Monster (so dubbed by a British tabloid, no doubt) in the same size range as the blue whale. Or should it be the other way around. Anyway, the scene imagined here would’ve been sometime between 200 and 235 million years ago (the Late Triassic). The seabirds pictured would actually have been pterosaurs, as I don’t believe birds had evolved sufficiently as yet to fly and soar like seabirds do now. Pterosaurs were filling that niche, and would until that damn asteroid wrecked everything. Neither they nor ichthyosaurs survived that. Our ancestors did, squirmy little insectivorous things probably with all the charm of a shrew. Thus we’re here, apes that can talk and write and think things, writing about ichthyosaurs.

“A small group of the gigantic Lilstock ichthyosaur swim near the coast of Late Triassic Europe. This taxon is here reconstructed as a Shastasaurid. Numerous pterosaurs flying around”—Gabriel Lugueto on Twitter

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