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Mixosaurus BW

Mixosaurus is an extinct genus of ichthyosaur. It was themost common genus of Triassic ichtyosaurus: its fossils have been found all over the world, including China, Timor, Indonesia, Italy, Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Canada, as well as Alaska and Nevada in the US.[1] It was named in 1887 by George H. Baur. The name means "Mixed Lizard", and was chosen because it appears to have been a transitional form between the eel-shaped Ichthyosaurs such as Cymbospondylus and the later dolphin-shaped ichthyosaurs, such as Ichthyosaurus. Baur named Mixosaurus as a new genus because its forefin was sufficiently different from that of Ichthyosaurus.[1]

Mixosaurus was a small to medium sized ichthyosaur, not growing more than 2 metres in total length with small species not growing more than 1 metre. It possessed a long tail with a low fin, suggesting it could have been a slow swimmer, but also possessed a dorsal fin for stability in the water. The paddle-like limbs were made up of five toes each, unlike the three toes found in later Ichthyosaurs. Noteworthy, however, is that each toe had more individual bones than is usual in reptiles, and the front limbs were longer than the back limbs, both adaptations typical of later ichthyosaurs. The jaws were narrow, with several sharp teeth, that would have been ideal for catching fish.[2] They had relatively large skulls compared to their bodies, unlike the basal ichthyosaurs, but resembled fish-shaped ichthyosaurs that appeared later. They had around 50 vertebrae in front of the pelvic girdle, around twice as many as terrestrial diapsids.[3]