Temporal range: 183–175 Ma Early Jurassic
|A 6.4 meters (21 feet) Eurhinosaurus species specimen|
Eurhinosaurus ('well-nosed lizard') is an extinct genus of ichthyosaur from the Early Jurassic (Toarcian) of Europe (England, Germany, Benelux, France & Switzerland). It was a large genus, exceeding 6 m in length.
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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', 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.
- Maisch MW. 2010: Phylogeny, systematics, and origin of the Ichthyosauria – the state of the art. Palaeodiversity 3: 151-214
- 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
- Maisch MW, Matzke AT. 2000. The Ichthyosauria. Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde Serie B (Geologie und Paläontologie) 298: 1-159
- 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
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