Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Fool me once, Shame on you... Fool me twice, Shame on me...

Well, it looks like the skull IS the skull of an Ichthyosaur - or at least a reptile and not an amphibian. We've excavated along the jaw line and found out that the hole we thought was the orbit (where the eyeball goes) isn't. Instead, the orbit may be further back. It now appears that the back end of the skull is broken off as well. So apparently we have a skull from a Euriapsid or Diapsid animal, with Fenestras  behind the orbit and the Naris (nostril hole) in front. Or not.  However, I am still uncomfortable with this layout. The orbit is too small for an ichthyosaur, and the naris (nostril) is too large.
Maybe the skull is actually like this as a Reptile and not an Ichthyosaur:
Or maybe it's like a crocodile:
 I think it's best to reserve judgement as this animal has already fooled us at least once, and will probably do so again. And we really will need a knowledgeable person to evaluate this skull when it's excavated and prepared.

We also have complications of the limb bones which I'll talk about next post. All the excavated limb bones of this animal have nice round or "D" sections in the middle. But even the oldest Ichthyosaurs have 'flanges' on the Humerus and Femur which these bones lack. And the bones that would be in the lower limbs and hands are  much too elongated and 'finger' shaped for Ichthyosaurs who's paddle bones resemble round or faceted disks instead of our finger bones.

Anyway, enjoy the teeth and details of this part of the skull.

Sincerely, Greg Carr

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