Pronounced (IK-thee-oh-SAWR-us) Ichthyosaurus was, a dolphin-like reptile up to 75 feet long. It could swim at 25 mph (40 kph). Ichthyosaurs had a tall dorsal fin, a half-moon-shaped tail, paddle-like flippers and smooth skin. The nostrils were near the eyes on the top of the head. It had massive ear bones and large eyes, probably giving it acute hearing and sight. These marine reptiles gave birth to live young. Their diet was mostly fish, but also included cephalopods (like belemnites). Hundreds of Ichthyosaurus fossils have been found in England, Germany, Greenland, and Alberta, Canada. They lived during the early Jurassic to the early Cretaceous periods. It was not a dinosaur, but another type of extinct reptile. Ichthyosaurus, which means "fish lizard," was named by Charles Koenig in 1818.
Ichthyosaurus was a marine reptile from the world-renown late Jurassic, black, oil-bearing shale or slate at Holzmaden, Germany. In the area around Holzmaden, slate was quarried for hundreds of years and is still quarried today up to 38 feet in depth. The slate is mainly used for floor slabs and table tops. Thousands of highly remarkable fossils have been found in the quarries. Many of the fossils are covered in golden pyrite. This is locality is referred to by geologists and paleontologists as a Lagerstatten because of the exceptional preservation of fossils and their diversity.
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