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Temporal range: 228–210 Ma
Late Triassic
Californosaurus BW.jpg
Californosaurus perrini
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Subclass: ?Diapsida
Order: Ichthyopterygia
Suborder: Merriamosauria
Family: Californosauridae
Genus: Californosaurus
Kuhn, 1934
  • C. perrini
Californosaurus with a human to scale.

Californosaurus perrini ('Perrin's California lizard') was an ichthyosaur, an extinct marine reptile, from the Lower Hosselkus Limestone (Carnian, Late Triassic) of California. It has also been known as Shastasaurus perrini and Delphinosaurus ('dolphin lizard') perrini. The long-snouted head is small in comparison with the rest of the body, as in basal ichthyosaurs such as Mixosaurus and Cymbospondylus. The tail is sharply turned downwards, in common with more advanced ichthyosaurs, with a small vertical fluke. It may have had a small dorsal fin. There is a small number of pre-sacral vertebrae (45 or 50). The phalanges (digit bones) are circular and widely spaced, giving the flipper a round appearance. It was three metres long. It fed on fish and other small marine creatures. Like other ichthyosaurs it probably never ventured onto dry land, and gave birth in the water.

Life reconstruction of Californosaurus perrini

See also[edit]


  • Merriam, J. C. (1902): Triassic Ichthyopterygia from California and Nevada. – Bulletin of the Department of Geology of the University of California, 3(4): 63–108.
  • Kuhn, O., 1934. Ichthyosauria: Fossilium Catalogous, 1: Animalia, p. 1-75.
  • Hilton, R. P., 2003, Dinosaurs and other Mesozoic reptiles of California: University of California Press, 318pp.
  • M. W. Maisch. 2010. Phylogeny, systematics, and origin of the Ichthyosauria - the state of the art. Palaeodiversity 3:151-214

External links[edit]