Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Late Cretaceous Ichthyosaurs

The rare ichthyosaur fossils from the Late Cretaceous in Australia are restricted to the Cenomanian. In the past vertebrae from the Miria Formation were assigned to ichthyosaurs but have since been reassigned to lamniform sharks. Remains that have been attributed to Platypterygius, a widespread genus in the Late Cretaceous, from the Molecap Greensand and the Alinga Formation. As the material from the Molecap Greensand near Dandaragan is present in the same formation as advanced mosasaurs such as Platecarpus, derivation of the material from the Molecap Greensand is contentious. As ichthyosaurs are believed to have been extinct by the end of the Cenomanian, long before the first appearance in the fossil record of the advanced mosasaurs, this evidence is significant. The authors3 consider it important that the ichthyosaur specimen in the Molecap Greensand derived from reworked sediments near the base of the unit, that are believed to have probably been and eroded and redeposited from older strata.

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Author: M. H. Monroe
Last Updated 04/01/2015


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