Platypterygius – a dolphin-shaped reptile

(plat-ip-ter-ij-ee-us)

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Fossil of the ichthyosaur, Platypterygius australis.
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria

Fossil of the ichthyosaur, Platypterygius australis.
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria

Reconstruction of the ichthyosaur, platypterygius australis
Image: Peter Trusler
Source: Museum Victoria

Cretaceous

HOW BIG IT WAS

Platypterygius relative size depiction as described below
The skull of Platypterygius was approximately 1.2 m long.

Large predatory marine reptiles such as Platypterygius, an ichthyosaur, used their powerful tails to propel themselves through the warm inland sea that covered much of central and northern Australia in the Cretaceous. They used their sharp, ridged teeth and long snouts to catch fish and ammonites.

The skull of this ichthyosaur took a year to remove from the rock. The process involved dipping it into a bath of weak acid that dissolved the rock, but not the fossil. The fossil includes the whole ‘snout’ of the animal which makes it a rare find.

WHERE IT WAS FOUND

Platypterygius map

This fossil of Platypterygius was discovered in Queensland.

RELATED OBJECTS

Other objects from the Cretaceous

MuttaburrasaurusKoolasuchusBishopsBlack coalQantassaurusBostrychoceras