The ichthyosaurs were a diverse group of aquatic reptiles that went extinct about 95 million years ago. Scientists know a good deal about these animals from the fossil record, but newly published results in Historical Biology, gleaned from a long-forgotten specimen recently discovered in the Lapworth Museum of Geology at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, are recasting both the size and diets of baby ichthyosaurs. The fossil shows a juvenile Ichthyosaurus communis, measuring just 70 centimeters long, making it the smallest example of the animal to date. Newborn ichthyosaurs were believed to feed exclusively on fish before switching to squid as adults, but the fossil shows evidence of squid hooks near the animals’ ribs, The Guardian reports, suggesting that the babies’ diets may have been more like their parents than we knew.
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