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Temporal range: Early Jurassic, 183–175 Ma
Eurhinosaurus species 01.jpg
A 6.4 meters (21 feet) Eurhinosaurus specimen
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Ichthyosauria
Family: Leptonectidae
Genus: Eurhinosaurus
Abel, 1909

Eurhinosaurus ('well-nosed lizard') is an extinct genus of ichthyosaur from the Early Jurassic (Toarcian) of Europe (England, Germany, Benelux, France & Switzerland).[1][2][3][4] It was a large genus, exceeding 6 m in length.[3]

life restoration of Eurhinosaurus, note the elongated upper jaw


The cladogram below follows the topology from a 2015 analysis by Marek et al.[5]













Eurhinosaurus looked like a regular ichthyosaur, with a fish-like body including a dorsal and caudal fin, and large eyes, but had one distinct feature that set it apart from other ichthyosaurs. Its upper jaw was twice as long as the lower jaw and covered with up- and downwards-pointing 'teeth',[3] unlike the sawfish's. It might have been used to search vegetation and crustaceans on the ocean bottom for prey by swinging its upper jaw from side to side against the sea floor like a sawfish, or to violently stab prey to death like swordfish, sailfish and marlins. A Miocene cetacean, Eurhinodelphis, also developed a similar structure.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Maisch MW. 2010: Phylogeny, systematics, and origin of the Ichthyosauria – the state of the art. Palaeodiversity 3: 151-214
  2. ^ Fischer V, Guiomar M & Godefroit P. 2011: New data on the palaeobiogeography of Early Jurassic marine reptiles: the Toarcian ichthyosaur fauna of the Vocontian Basin (SE France). Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie, Abhandlungen 261(1): 111-127
  3. ^ a b c Maisch MW, Matzke AT. 2000. The Ichthyosauria. Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde Serie B (Geologie und Paläontologie) 298: 1-159
  4. ^ Reisdorf AG, Maisch MW & Wetzel A. 2011. First record of the leptonectid ichthyosaur Eurhinosaurus longirostris from the Early Jurassic of Switzerland and its stratigraphic framework. Swiss Journal of Geosciences 104(2): 211-224
  5. ^ R. D. Marek, B. C. Moon, M. Williams, M. J. Benton: The skull and endocranium of a Lower Jurassic Ichthyosaur based on digital reconstructions. In: Palaeontology 58, 2015, S. 723–742.