Saturday, April 30, 2011

Excalibosaurus

Excalibosaurus costini
Excalibosaurus is the name given to a genus known only from two specimens from a single species. Both of these fossils were found in England. That fact, combined with the long, swordlike nose, gave this creature a name derived from the legendary sword Excalibur.

Excaliboasaurus was a large, marine Ichthyosaur that had an asymmetrical jaw. Its upper snout (the rostrum) extended far beyond where the lower jaw (mandible) ended. In some ways it is similar to our modern swordfish, and may even have used this long snout to stir up or spear at fish in a similar way.

Because only two specimens have been found, an adult and a juvenile, we don't know much more about this extinct creature. But it's still fun to learn even a little bit about all the strange animals that walked (or swam) on our planet millions and millions of years before we did!

Status :  Extinct since the Early Jurassic, approximately 190 million years ago
Location : Fossils found in England
Size : Estimated body length of 23ft (7m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Sauropsida -- Order: †Ichthyosauria
Family : Leptopterygiidae -- Genus : Excalibosaurus -- Species : E. costini

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