Posidonienschiefer Formation, Holzmaden, Germany
A fine example of this fascinating inhabitant of the Jurassic seas, the present specimen in shale displays expert preparation with three of the flippers visible. It is so well preserved that one can even see the remnants of its last meal behind the bar-like rows of slender ribs including fish, squids and belemnites, identifiable from their hooklets. The skeleton is virtually complete in a lateral presentation but with truly exceptional preservation. This can be seen immediately on inspection of the rows of teeth still with good enamel coverage. Also noteworthy is the texture and detail of the bone surfaces which can be seen perfectly throughout the skeleton and shows a fantastic lack of distortion or bone displacement.
Ichthyosaurs are important in the field of evolutionary biology. Their fossils help demonstrate vertebrate adaptation from aquatic origins to terrestrial life and back to aquatic existence over millions of years. Of all known reptiles, ichthyosaurs were most completely adapted to their environment, filling the same ecological niche as today's dolphin. There were several species of ichthyosaur, but this example, at approximately 2.3 meters (7.55 feet) in length, is quite large for its genus. Specimen measuring 250 x 95 cm