Omphalosaurus and Grippia

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The original specimen, a scrappy skull, was so poorly preserved that the discoverer, Merriam,did not think it was an ichthyosaur at all, but something related to the placodonts or rhynchosaurs, because of the broad shell-grinding teeth. Even now there is a great deal of controversy over whether or not it really is a member of the ichthyosaur order. walking dinosaur costume




Features The teeth are strong and blunt, adapted for crushing the shells of molluscs. ” Durophagous” is the technical term for this, and the speciality is found in many groups of marine reptiles. In fact the name “button lizard” refers to the button-shaped teeth. The ichthyosaur features are the shortness of the vertebrae and the articulation of the ribs, but many scientists say that these are insufficient to identify the animal as an ichthyosaur.




Grippia was always thought of as the classic durophagous ichthyosaur (like Ontphalosaurus) – one with strong blunt teeth for crushing shellfish. However, recent studies show that the dentition was not quite right for this. It is now thought to have been a more generalist feeder, eating a wide range of foodstuffs. It is difficult to tell, as the original material on which the genus is based was destroyed in a bombing raid during World War II, along with other important fossils. animatronic dinosaur


Features: The back teeth of Grippia are broad and flat, and are arranged in two rows in each jaw. They would have made a broad crushing platform for dealing with tough shellfish. However, studies by Ryosuke Motani, from the University of Oregon, in 1997 showed that the inner row is not high enoughto make contact, andinstead consisted of replacement teeth for when the outer ones wore out. The teeth are smaller and do not have the specialist strength­giving structures found in true shellfish-eaters.


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