March 3rd, 2014 | 77
Between the later part of the Triassic and the very end of the Cretaceous, the seas of the world (and some of its rivers, lakes and estuaries as well) were inhabited by the remarkable group of swimming reptiles known as the plesiosaurs. All plesiosaurs – so far as we know – were predators, the shapes [...]Keep reading
Plesiosaurs and the repeated invasion of freshwater habitats: late-surviving relicts or evolutionary novelties?
January 9th, 2013 | 33
Time to talk about another recently published paper I was involved in: this time, the looooong awaited Journal of Systematic Palaeontology paper ‘A new leptocleidid (Sauropterygia, Plesiosauria) from the Vectis Formation (Early Barremian-early Aptian; Early Cretaceous) of the Isle of Wight and the evolution of Leptocleididae, a controversial clade’ (Benson et al. 2012a). Wow, what [...]Keep reading
October 24th, 2012 | 13
You’ve heard of plesiosaurs (and probably the short-necked plesiosaurs known vernacularly as pliosaurs). But unless you’re a palaeontologist or zoology uber-nerd, you might well not have heard of placodonts, pachypleurosaurs, nothosauroids and pistosaurids – the other lineages that, together with plesiosaurs, form Sauropterygia, a major clade of Mesozoic marine reptiles. Here’s a much-simplified cladogram showing [...]Keep reading
March 8th, 2012 | 51
Having just covered Mesozoic marine reptiles, and seeing as I can’t find the time to finish anything more substantial, it seems like a good time to use these wonderful images, passed to me by a correspondent. They clearly show the carcass of a freshly deceased, modern-day marine reptile of Mesozoic style. For those in the [...]Keep reading
Dinosaurs at SVPCA – no Mesozoic non-avialan theropods, thank you very much – and what about those marine reptiles?
September 22nd, 2011 | 13
In the previous article I penned various of my thoughts on the 59th SVPCA (= Symposium on Vertebrate Palaeontology & Comparative Anatomy), this year held at Lyme Regis in Dorset. You might need to read that previous article to make sense of this one. That first article covered pterosaurs, various non-archosaurs and an assortment of [...]Keep reading