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Temporal range: Middle JurassicUpper Cretaceous, 171.6–93.5 mya
Ophthalmosaurus icenicus skeleton
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Sauropsida
Superorder: Ichthyopterygia
Order: Ichthyosauria
Family: Ophthalmosauridae

Ophthalmosauridae were a family of Ichthyosaurs which lived from the Middle Jurassic to the Upper Cretaceous period.

Within Ophthalmosauridae there are two lineages, one including Aegirosaurus and Ophthalmosaurus, and the other including Brachypterygius, Caypullisaurus and Platypterygius.[1]

Only three genera survived the end-Jurassic extinction event: Caypullisaurus, Maiaspondylus, and Platypterygius. They did, however, have a worldwide distribution. The last to survive was Platypterygius. This genus became extinct about 30 million years before the end of the Upper Cretaceous period. It happened when there was a deep ocean anoxic event, which wiped out all the animals below pelagic waters. Ichthyosaurs, being reptiles, came to the surface to breath, but the extinction event removed their prey species.

References[change | change source]

  1. Fernández M. 2007. Redescription and phylogenetic position of Caypullisaurus (Ichthyosauria: Ophthalmosauridae). Journal of Paleontology 81 (2): 368-375.