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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

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 followed the basic ichthyosaur body plan, with a fish-like fusiform body including well developed dorsal fin, vertically oriented lunate caudal fin, paired pectoral and pelvic fins, and large eyes. One distinct feature set it apart from other ichthyosaurs; the upper jaw was twice the length of the lower jaw and covered with up- and downwards-pointing teeth,[3] unlike the living sawfish's laterally projecting teeth. The appendage might have been used to probe through vegetation, or soft sea-floor sediments for prey. The appendage may have been swung from side to side near the sea-floor like a sawfish, or to stun swimming prey in a manner similar to the rostrum of living billfish 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.