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ZoomDinosaurs.com
Dinosaur and Paleontology Dictionary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Click on an underlined word for more information on that subject.
If the dinosaur or paleontology term you are looking for is not in the dictionary, please e-mail us.

ICHTHYOSAURS
"Fish-lizards"
Ichthyosaurus Printout

Ichthyosaurs were reptiles that were strong swimmers fully adapted to life in the seas. They were better adapted than any other reptiles, although they still needed to go to the surface periodically to breathe air.

ANATOMY
Ichthyosaurs were stream-lined marine reptiles that ranged in size from 7-30 feet long (4.5-9 m). They had sharp teeth in long jaws, and big eyes. They had four crescent-shaped fins, a stabilizing dorsal fin, and a fish-like tail with two lobes. They breathed air with lungs through nostrils which were close to the eyes near the top of the snout.

They gave birth to live young; fossils have been found with baby Ichthyosaurs in the abdomen.

WHEN ICHTHYOSAURS LIVED
Ichthyosaurs lived during the Mesozoic Era, the Age of Reptiles. They appeared during the Triassic, reached their peak during the Jurassic, and disappeared during the Cretaceous, about 95 million years ago, millions of years before the K-T extinction at 65 mya (and before the extinction of the dinosaurs).

BEHAVIOR
Ichthyosaurs lived in the oceans, probably near the surface (they had large eyes, which would be unnecessary is they spent a lot of time diving into the dark depths of the oceans. They did not move about on land.

REPRODUCTION
Ichthyosaurs were viviparous; they gave birth in the water to live young (instead of laying eggs, as other reptiles do). This is known because the fossilized bones of baby Ichthysaurs have been found inside the bones of adults.

DIET
Ichthyosaurs were carnivores; they ate fish, octopus, and other swimming animals. They had strong jaws and sharp teeth.

LOCOMOTION
Ichthyosaurs were fast and strong swimmers; they stabilized themselves in the water with their four, strong, crescent-shaped fins. Primitive Ichthyosaurs swam in a fish-like fashion, moving the tail from side to side to propel themselves through the water. Ichthyosaurs could not move about on land.

CLASSIFICATION
Ichthyosaurs are reptiles, but not dinosaurs. They are:

DISCOVERY OF FOSSILS
Ichthyosaur fossils have been found in North and South America and Europe.

MISCELLANEOUS
The Ichthyosaur is the state fossil of Nevada, USA.

ICHTHYOSAUR LINKS
Ichthyosaurus - Coloring and information information sheet.

Ichthyosaurs from the UCMP, Berkeley.

Ichthyosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

The Field Museum of Natural History Ichthyosaurus.




Information Sheets About Dinosaurs
(and Other Prehistoric Creatures)

Just click on an animal's name to go to that information sheet. If the dinosaur you're interested in isn't here, check the Dinosaur Dictionary or the list of Dinosaur Genera. Names with an asterisk (*) were not dinosaurs.
How to write a great dinosaur report.

For dinosaur printouts, click here.

For brief dinosaur fact sheets, click here.




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