Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Icthyosaur Fossil Shelter April 3, 2012

Me with the head of an icthyosaur

I was fortunate to arrive at the state park with another party who had voiced interest in taking the tour at the Icthyosaur Fossil Shelter. The ranger at the park was kind enough to give the three of us a 40 minute tour of fossil beds. On the tour we learned about the natural history of the icthyosaurs and their discovery in the park.

Natural History of the icthyosaur reptile: The icthyosaur was a prehistoric marine reptile (lived during the time of the dinosaur) that ranged in size from two feet to over 50 feet in length. Fossils of the reptile have been found on every continent except for Antartica. They predominately ate mollusks, belemnites, and fish. The icthyosaurs in the Shoshone Range are the largest in the world at 50 feet.

Discovery: Dr. Siemon Muller discovered the fossils in 1928. Excavations began in 1954 under Charles Camp and Samuel Welles of UC Berkely. By the mid 1960s researchers had excavated a total of 40 icthyosaurs. Today three fossilized icthyosaurs are viewable in the Icthyosaur Fossil Shelter. (Information from state park brochure and informational signs).

If you look closely you can see me. This picture shows the size of the reptile.

Big vertebrate in a line. Marked with a W.

More fossils marked with the letters L and M

The shelter at the park

Representation of the skeleton of an icthyosaur

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