200 years of ichthyosaurology


It’s been a while … I’m good at this regular blogging idea!

Rest assured that I am still at my PhD, and that the world of ichthyosaurs is still full of fun and exciting things to see and do. It’s just that I’ve been heavily invested in a mountain of work that hasn’t left me too much time for anything else … aside from an occasional meal and some sleep.

But on the plus side:

Today is the 200th anniversary of the first description of a (recognisable) ichthyosaur by Sir Everard Home, published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Surely that deserves a mention and some form of celebration? (I’m having t-shirts made.) The specimen was first discovered by Joseph and Mary Anning in 1811, then was sold and eventually made its way to London, where Home got his hands on it. I mention that it isn’t the first ichthyosaur as some specimens in the Oxford Natural history Museum that are almost certainly ichthyosaurian were figured by Lhwyd in 1699 (see pls 17–19).

I leave you with an inspirational (yeah, right!) drawing from Home’s description of what is now known as Temnodontosaurus platyodon. There is more to come soon.

The skull illustrated in Home (1814) I can't read the caption to tell who the illustrator is. Text added by me.
The skull illustrated in Home (1814) I can’t read the caption to tell who the illustrator is. Text added by me.

References

Home, E. (1814). Some account of the fossil remains of an animal more nearly allied to fishes than any of the other classes of animals. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London, 104, 571–577.

Lhwyd, E. (1699). Lithophylacii Britannici Ichnographia. Clarendon Press, Oxford.

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3 thoughts on “200 years of ichthyosaurology

  1. Hey, it’s been less than a year, so not too bad. I’m glad you’re having fun at the fish lizards. I hugely appreciate the folk who go into science and dig up these pictures of that weird bygone world.

    And I’ll keep checking in even if the next one is a bit more than year.

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