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Temnodontosaurus (Greek for “cutting-tooth lizard” - temno, meaning “to cut”, odont meaning “tooth” and sauros meaning “lizard”) is an extinct genus of Ichthyosaurs from the Early Jurassic, ranging between 198 and 185 million years ago (Hettangian - Toarcian), and known from Europe (England, France, Germany and Belgium). They lived in the deeper areas of the open ocean.<ref name="Motani R.(2000)">Motani R.(2000). “Rulers of the Jurassic seas”. Scientific American. 283 (6): 52-59</ref> University of Bristol paleontologist Jeremy Martin described the genus Temnodontosaurus as “one of the most ecologically disparate genera of Ichthyosaurs”.<ref name="J.E. Martin et al.(2010)">J.E. Martin et al.(2010). A longirostrine Temnodontosaurus (Ichthyosauria) with comments on Early Jurassic ichthyosaur niche partitioning and disparity. Palaeontology 55 (5), 995–1005</ref>

Temnodontosaurus are known for being gigantic Ichthyosaurs. According to the paleontologist Michael Maisch, species of Temnodontosaurus were large, exceeding 12 meters (40 ft) in length.<ref name="Maisch MW and Matzke AT. (2000)">Maisch MW, Matzke AT. (2000). The Ichthyosauria. Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde Serie B (Geologie und Paläontologie) 298: 1-159</ref> There is a possibility that they reached a similar size to another Ichthyosaur genus, Shonisaurus who are known as the largest Ichthyosaurs.<ref name="McGowan C. (1996)">McGowan C. (1996). "Giant ichthyosaurs of the Early Jurassic". Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 33(7): 1011-1021</ref> There seems to be a general consensus between paleontologists that they could at least have reached 9m.<ref name="McGowan, C. (1995)">McGowan, C. (1995). "Temnodontosaurus risor is a Juvenile of T. platyodon (Reptilia: Ichthyosauria)". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 14 (4): 472–479</ref>

Temnodontosaurus are known for their incredibly large eyes. Their eyes are thought to be the largest of any animal ever known.<ref name="Sander,P.M.(2000)">Sander,P.M.(2000). "Ichthyosauria: their diversity, distribution, and phylogeny", Paläontologische Zeitschrift 74: 1–35</ref> Temnodontosaurus eyes were approximately 20 cm (8 in) in diameter making them some of the largest of any known vertebrate. They have a tail bend which is characteristic of Jurassic age Ichthyosaurs.<ref name="McGowan, C. (1992)">McGowan, C. (1992). Dinosaurs, Spitfires and Sea Dragons. Harvard University Press</ref> and they have many conical teeth that fill their jaw and are set in a continuous groove.<ref name="McGowan, C. (1992)" />

Temnodontosaurus species are sometimes mistaken for dolphin relatives due to their similar overall morphology. However, the morphological traits are convergent. Temnodontosaurus were not mammals but were large marine reptiles and their ancestors were land dwelling reptiles.<ref name="Motani R.(2000)" /> Temnodontosaurus do have morphological traits which differ from Cetacea also. Temnodontosaurus' tail would beat laterally side to side, instead of up and down.<ref name="Sander,P.M.(2000)" /> Temnodontosaurus skull's also have nostrils that are placed in front of the eyes instead of on the dorsal side of the head like Cetaceans.<ref name="Sander,P.M.(2000)" /> Though reptiles, Temnodontosaurus can also be mistaken for fish due to their fins and elongate undifferentiated body, but unlike fish Temnodontosaurus are air breathers and must go to the water’s surface for air.<ref name="Sander,P.M.(2000)" /> Also Temnodontosaurus, like other Ichthyosaurs, are viviparous.<ref name="Sander,P.M.(2000)" />

The number or names of Temnodontosaurus species have varied since their discovery. Christopher McGowan in 1992 said that there were around thirteen species in the genus Temnodontosaurus.<ref name="McGowan, C. (1992)" /> Michael Maisch in 2000 listed T. platyodon, T. trigonodon, T. acutirostris, T. nuertingensis and T. eurychephalus as the valid species of Temnodontosaurus.<ref name="Maisch MW and Matzke AT. (2000)">Maisch MW and Matzke AT. (2000). The Ichthyosauria. Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde Serie B (Geologie und Paläontologie) 298: 1-159</ref>


Temnodontosaurus sections
Intro  Description and Paleobiology  Paleoecology  Classification and Species  See also  References  

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Maisch::mcgowan    Matzke::species    Sander::jurassic    Martin::their    Michael::found    Clade::skull

Automatic taxobox help
Thanks for creating an automatic taxobox. We don't know the taxonomy of "Temnodontosaurus".
  • Is "Temnodontosaurus" the scientific name of your taxon? If you were editing the page "Animal", you'd need to specify |taxon=Animalia. If you've changed this, press "Preview" to update this message.
  • Click here to enter the taxonomic details for "Temnodontosaurus".
Common parameters
  • |authority= Who described the taxon
  • |parent authority= Who described the next taxon up the list
  • |display parents=4 force the display of (e.g.) 4 parent taxa
  • |display children= Display any subdivisions already in Wikipedia's database (e.g. genera within a family)
Helpful links

Temnodontosaurus (Greek for “cutting-tooth lizard” - temno, meaning “to cut”, odont meaning “tooth” and sauros meaning “lizard”) is an extinct genus of Ichthyosaurs from the Early Jurassic, ranging between 198 and 185 million years ago (Hettangian - Toarcian), and known from Europe (England, France, Germany and Belgium). They lived in the deeper areas of the open ocean.<ref name="Motani R.(2000)">Motani R.(2000). “Rulers of the Jurassic seas”. Scientific American. 283 (6): 52-59</ref> University of Bristol paleontologist Jeremy Martin described the genus Temnodontosaurus as “one of the most ecologically disparate genera of Ichthyosaurs”.<ref name="J.E. Martin et al.(2010)">J.E. Martin et al.(2010). A longirostrine Temnodontosaurus (Ichthyosauria) with comments on Early Jurassic ichthyosaur niche partitioning and disparity. Palaeontology 55 (5), 995–1005</ref>

Temnodontosaurus are known for being gigantic Ichthyosaurs. According to the paleontologist Michael Maisch, species of Temnodontosaurus were large, exceeding 12 meters (40 ft) in length.<ref name="Maisch MW and Matzke AT. (2000)">Maisch MW, Matzke AT. (2000). The Ichthyosauria. Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde Serie B (Geologie und Paläontologie) 298: 1-159</ref> There is a possibility that they reached a similar size to another Ichthyosaur genus, Shonisaurus who are known as the largest Ichthyosaurs.<ref name="McGowan C. (1996)">McGowan C. (1996). "Giant ichthyosaurs of the Early Jurassic". Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 33(7): 1011-1021</ref> There seems to be a general consensus between paleontologists that they could at least have reached 9m.<ref name="McGowan, C. (1995)">McGowan, C. (1995). "Temnodontosaurus risor is a Juvenile of T. platyodon (Reptilia: Ichthyosauria)". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 14 (4): 472–479</ref>

Temnodontosaurus are known for their incredibly large eyes. Their eyes are thought to be the largest of any animal ever known.<ref name="Sander,P.M.(2000)">Sander,P.M.(2000). "Ichthyosauria: their diversity, distribution, and phylogeny", Paläontologische Zeitschrift 74: 1–35</ref> Temnodontosaurus eyes were approximately 20 cm (8 in) in diameter making them some of the largest of any known vertebrate. They have a tail bend which is characteristic of Jurassic age Ichthyosaurs.<ref name="McGowan, C. (1992)">McGowan, C. (1992). Dinosaurs, Spitfires and Sea Dragons. Harvard University Press</ref> and they have many conical teeth that fill their jaw and are set in a continuous groove.<ref name="McGowan, C. (1992)" />

Temnodontosaurus species are sometimes mistaken for dolphin relatives due to their similar overall morphology. However, the morphological traits are convergent. Temnodontosaurus were not mammals but were large marine reptiles and their ancestors were land dwelling reptiles.<ref name="Motani R.(2000)" /> Temnodontosaurus do have morphological traits which differ from Cetacea also. Temnodontosaurus' tail would beat laterally side to side, instead of up and down.<ref name="Sander,P.M.(2000)" /> Temnodontosaurus skull's also have nostrils that are placed in front of the eyes instead of on the dorsal side of the head like Cetaceans.<ref name="Sander,P.M.(2000)" /> Though reptiles, Temnodontosaurus can also be mistaken for fish due to their fins and elongate undifferentiated body, but unlike fish Temnodontosaurus are air breathers and must go to the water’s surface for air.<ref name="Sander,P.M.(2000)" /> Also Temnodontosaurus, like other Ichthyosaurs, are viviparous.<ref name="Sander,P.M.(2000)" />

The number or names of Temnodontosaurus species have varied since their discovery. Christopher McGowan in 1992 said that there were around thirteen species in the genus Temnodontosaurus.<ref name="McGowan, C. (1992)" /> Michael Maisch in 2000 listed T. platyodon, T. trigonodon, T. acutirostris, T. nuertingensis and T. eurychephalus as the valid species of Temnodontosaurus.<ref name="Maisch MW and Matzke AT. (2000)">Maisch MW and Matzke AT. (2000). The Ichthyosauria. Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde Serie B (Geologie und Paläontologie) 298: 1-159</ref>


Temnodontosaurus sections
Intro  Description and Paleobiology  Paleoecology  Classification and Species  See also  References  

PREVIOUS: IntroNEXT: Description and Paleobiology
<<>>