Temporal range: Early - Late Cretaceous
von Huene, 1922
Discovery and species
Fossils are known from Australia, Russia, United States of America, Colombia, Western Europe and possibly New Zealand. There are seven named species. Both adults and juveniles have been unearthed, including newborns and pregnant females. Like other ichthyosaurs, Platypterygius gave live birth.
The remains from Australia were originally called Ichthyosaurus australis. They are from the Toolebuc Formation and Allaru Mudstone (Albian, Lower Cretaceous) of Flinders River and other localities in north central Queensland. In 1990 Wade erected the species name P. longmani to include all remains previously referred to I.australis .
Platypterygius reached a length of about 7 m (23 ft). It had a long snout and a powerful finned tail. There are more digits in the front flippers than is usual in ichthyosaurs; they are tightly bound in rows, giving a broad, flat appearance. This unusual characteristic gives the genus its name, meaning 'flat wing.' Furthermore, some of the wrist bones have disappeared entirely. CAT scans on a juvenile specimen strongly suggest that Platypterygius was deaf.
- Arkhangel’sky, M. S., Averianov, A. O., Pervushov, E. M., Ratnikov, V. Yu, and Zozyrev, N. Yu., 2008, On ichthyosaur remains from the Cretaceous of the Voronezh region: Paleontological Journal, v. 42, n. 3, p. 287-291.
- Fernández M. 2007. Redescription and phylogenetic position of Caypullisaurus (Ichthyosauria: Ophthalmosauridae). Journal of Paleontology 81 (2): 368-375.
- Páramo, M. E. Platypterygius sachicarum (Reptilia, Ichthyosauria) nueva especie del Cretácico de Colombia. Revista Ingeominas 6, 1997: 1–12
- Long, J.A., Dinosaurs of Australia and New Zealand, UNSW Press, Australia 1998