Geologists in Lund University have come up with the most up-to-date model of an ichthyosaur currently available.
Geologists at Lund University have created a life-size reconstruction of an ichthyosaur, a dolphin-like reptile that existed in the Early Triassic to Late Cretaceous era.
The team made use of existing fish-lizard research that spanned 300 years, as well as fossils that comprised not only bones and teeth, but also soft tissues like skin, muscles, fat and pigment.
“Our reference point was a fish lizard that was found in Holzmaden, Germany. This fossil has previously been the subject of an extensive study on the biology and coloration of fish lizards, which I did together with Mats [Mats E. Eriksson] and several other colleagues, and was published in Nature,” said Johan Lindgren, a geology researcher at Lund University.
Then, the creation of the life-size sculpture, which involved various techniques like clay sculpturing and 3D printing, look a little over a year. Danish sculpture company 10 Tons was roped in to do the reconstruction.
“Our reconstruction is the scientifically most modern, and hopefully correct, interpretation of what these animals looked like. It will be valuable for students and researchers who want to learn more about the iconic fish lizard”, said Mats E. Eriksson, a professor of paleontology at the University.
The sculpture is now on public display at the Department of Geology at the university.
A paper on the reconstruction has been published in Volume 226 of the Earth-Science Reviews journal.