19 May 2016

The evolution of Runswick's Mesozoic marine reptiles.

The mudstones and shales which make up the lower Jurassic portion of Runswick Bay's pre-history are the fossilized seabeds from a time when Runswick was under a shallow, warm equatorial sea. Fossil finds hereabouts show that the sea was heaving with ammonites and belemnites, the muddy seabed was a mass of shellfish; Gryphaea (oysters), Pecten (similar to scallops), Pseudomytiloides (like a flattened mussel) and Dacromyia (like a small cockle) to mention but a few. The Jurassic seas were also home to big creatures too; plesiosaurs (think Nessie, only real), icthyosaurs (dolphin-alikes), crocodiles and turtles. Obviously these large, swimming creatures had an evolutionary backstory and here it is, free to read in an open access scientific journal:

Ecomorphological diversifications of Mesozoic marine reptiles: the roles of ecological opportunity and extinction
We haven't yet found a complete Jurassic marine reptile specimen which could add to the work done by Mr. Stubbs and Mr. Benton, but hope it's only a matter of time. Thanks to them, their publishers and the internet for letting those of us who are interested learn a bit more about this kind of stuff. (And I know the paper is about Jurassic marine reptiles per se, but I'm only interested in Runswick Bay. Dead reptiles in other parts of the world can find their own damn blogger.)

No comments: