EDUCATION: Swim With the Ichthyosaurs

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  16 Jul 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5682, pp. 317
DOI: 10.1126/science.305.5682.317d

While the dinosaurs stomped around on land, dolphin-like reptiles called ichthyosaurs glided through the ancient seas. A primer from paleontologist Ryosuke Motani of the University of California, Davis, offers a wealth of information about ichthyosaurs, which lived from 250 million to 90 million years ago. Pages trace the evolution of their flippers, which over time shed the thumb but gained new fingers, and explain how different ichthyosaurs might have swum. You can assess the evidence that some ichthyosaurs were deep divers. For example, their eyes—the largest of any animals'—were shaped to capture extra light, like those of many nocturnal animals today.

Navigate This Article