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New ophthalmosaurids from Europe and Russia broaden the biodiversity of early Cretaceous ichthyosaurs
Fischer, V. (2011). New ophthalmosaurids from Europe and Russia broaden the biodiversity of early Cretaceous ichthyosaurs. J. Vertebr. Paleontol. 31: 110-110
In: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Society of Vertebrate Paleontology: Norman, Okla.. ISSN 0272-4634; e-ISSN 1937-2809
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Geological time > Phanerozoic > Geological time > Mesozoic > Cretaceous > Cretaceous, Lower > Barremian
    Geological time > Phanerozoic > Geological time > Mesozoic > Cretaceous > Cretaceous, Lower > Hauterivian
    Geological time > Phanerozoic > Geological time > Mesozoic > Cretaceous > Cretaceous, Lower > Valanginian
    Ichthyosauria
    Europe, Europe [Marine Regions]; Russia [Marine Regions]
    Marine/Coastal

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  • Fischer, V.

Abstract
    Ophthalmosauridae is a successful clade of ichthyosaurs that rapidly diversified during the Middle Jurassic. By Late Jurassic, Ophthalmosauridae were diverse, widespread, and formed an important component of the marine trophic webs. By contrast, the record of Berriasian- Aptian ichthyosaurs is extremely poor, and all ichthyosaurs from that interval have been referred to a single genus, Platypterygius, until recently. This apparent diversity drop led numerous authors to recognize a severe ichthyosaur extinction at the end of the Jurassic that left ichthyosaurs as a small group on the decline. New specimens from poorly sampled time periods (late Valanginian, late Hauterivian and late Barremian) in Europe and Russia contradict this latest Jurassic extinction hypothesis and show that new and highly derived as well as typically ‘Late Jurassic’ ichthyosaurs roamed the Eurasian archipelago during the Early Cretaceous. Moreover, these new forms occupied ecological niches markedly different from that of Platypterygius, significantly broadening the disparity and ecological diversity of Cretaceous ichthyosaurs.

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