MARTIN LAND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARTIN LAND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Fossilised ichthyosaur skull. Ichthyosaurs were a type of aquatic dinosaur. Like dolphins, they had streamlined bodies, long snouts, powerful tails and large eyes. This skull belonged to the ichthyosaur Leptonectes sp. and shows the massive eyesocket (centre right). The bony plates (centre) prevented water pressure from distorting the eye, allowing them to hunt prey at great depths. The skull dates back to the Jurassic period (about 200-145 million years ago). Similar to modern aquatic mammals, they were thought to have evolved from terrestrial animals moving back into the water. They lived entirely in the water and were viviparous (gave birth to live young). Fossil found in Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK.
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