Marine Reptile Skull
A marine reptile, the ichthyosaur is believed to have filled a similar ecological niche as today's dolphin. Of all known reptiles, they were best adapted to a marine existence. Ichthyosaurs are important in the field of evolutionary biology as their fossils help demonstrate vertebrate adaptation from aquatic origins to terrestrial life and back to aquatic existence over millions of years. Fossils from the famous Holzmaden quarries, dated at 170 180 million years, originate from the Jurassic Period when the whole of Europe was submerged under a warm, shallow tropical sea. Preparation of fossils from this locality is particularly arduous due to the similarity in densities of the fossilized material and the matrix. Seen in an interesting ventral presentation (showing the underside of the skull) this is a virtually complete icthyosaur skull specimen.
Matrix measures 22 1/4 x 13 3/4 in, Specimen measures 17 3/4in