Mary Anning Honoured by Palaeontologists
Mary Anning the 19th century amateur fossil hunter from Lyme Regis, has been honoured by having a new species of Ichthyosaurus named after her. Ichthyosaurs were ancient, marine reptiles that lived during the Mesozoic and the evolved sometime in the Early Triassic. Superficially resembling modern-day dolphins, these reptiles, only distantly related to the dinosaurs, were superbly adapted to live in the sea, although they did evolve from terrestrial animals.
Perfectly Adapted to a Marine Environment – The Ichthyosaurs
Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur
The picture above shows a model of a species of Ichthyosaur called Temnodontosaurus platyodon. It had a streamlined body, fins, a powerful tail-fluke and these creatures did not have to return to land to lay eggs, they were viviparous (producing live young).
The Ichthyosaurus named in honour of Mary Anning is called – Ichthyosaurus anningae, the name means “Mary Anning’s Fish Lizard”. It was Mary and her brother Joseph who in 1811, found the fossilised remains of the first Ichthyosaurus to be scientifically studied.
The Fossilised Remains of Ichthyosaurus anningae
Picture credit: Palaeontologist Dean Lomax and Judy Massare
To read a more complete article about this new species of Ichthyosaurus to be named, the first named in nearly 130 years: New Ichthyosaurus Species Named (Mary Anning Honoured).
The fossil pictured above had been mistaken for a plaster cast replica, but it has now been realised that this specimen excavated from Dorset’s famous “Jurassic Coast” represents a new species.