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A new longirostrine ichthyosaur (Reptilia) from the Toarcian of France broadens the ecological diversity of the genus Temnodontosaurus
Martin, J.E.; Fischer, V.; Vincent, P.; Suan, G (2011). A new longirostrine ichthyosaur (Reptilia) from the Toarcian of France broadens the ecological diversity of the genus Temnodontosaurus, in: Forrest, R. (Ed.) 59th Annual Symposium of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy, September 12th–17th 2011, Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK: abstracts. pp. 25-26
In: Forrest, R. (Ed.) (2011). 59th Annual Symposium of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy, September 12th–17th 2011, Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK: abstracts. SVPCA: UK. 36 pp.

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  • Martin, J.E.
  • Fischer, V.
  • Vincent, P.
  • Suan, G

Abstract
    The ichthyosaur genus Temnodontosaurus has always been viewed as a top predator of the Early Jurassic marine environments, while other contemporaneous ichthyosaurs such as leptonectids and stenopterygiids were occupying the lower trophic levels. We describe here an almost complete skeleton of this successful genus from the middle Toarcian (Lower Jurassic) of the Beaujolais foothills near Lyon, France, and assign it to a new species of Temnodontosaurus. This specimen exhibits cranial peculiarities such as a thin, elongated, and likely edentulous rostrum, as well as a reduced quadrate. Such morphological combination indicates dietary preferences that markedly differ from other species referred to as Temnodontosaurus. Despite a conservative postcranial skeleton, we propose that Temnodontosaurus is one of the most ecologically diverse genera of ichthyosaurs, including apex predators, small and soft prey longirostrine hunters, and generalized forms. Ammonites collected along the described specimen indicate that the new species is younger (bifrons ammonite zone) than most known Toarcian ichthyosaurs and therefore slightly postdates the severe environmental changes and marine invertebrate extinctions that occur during the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event. The present study hence raises the question whether the speciation of Temnodontosaurus towards a new ecological niche, may have been a consequence of the post-crisis marine ecosystem reorganization.

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