Of the genus of Thunnosaur ichthyosaurs, and with a maximum length of 4 meters, the Stenopterygius was not the most significant marine reptile of its time, but don’t let their smaller stature fool you, they could certainly hold their own. Their fossils have been uncovered in Europe, Germany, Luxembourg, France, and Switzerland. They were aquatic dinosaurs and presumed to be fast and efficient hunters. Almost dolphin-like, at least in anatomy and looks, they were also thought to be very smart.
There have been many greatly preserved Stenopterygius fossils found but there has not been much research for this creature because it is very much like the Ichthyosaurus. Stenopterygius just mainly did not get the same publicity that the Ichthyosaurus did. Both prehistoric Mammals were from the same group. The only main difference between Ichthyosaurus and it was just this “mammal” had a more narrow skull and flippers. Many fossil discoveries were found with baby species together with it showing that the Stenopterygius must’ve had trouble giving birth and died doing so. Unlike many prehistoric animals, the Stenopterygius gave birth to live babies and not eggs. Through fossil discoveries, the baby came out tail first to give the offspring time to avoid drowning during the process.
What did they eat
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These intelligent creatures likely enjoyed a feast of octopus or squid typically using their long beaks, and missile-like bodies, to attack from beneath the prey.
These impressive, predatory fish were known to roam the Jurrasic ocean, deep under the surface where they could find their next meal.
With its beak-like snout and sleek, streamlined body, their looks resembled their dolphin cousins as well. They shared many of the same characteristics, like their fin-like limbs, although the Stenopterygius’ flippers were bony and completely movable and the paddles of the mammal had sub-divided finger rows. The mouth was somewhat like today’s common Dolphin armed with a lot of small piercing teeth which seemed made for eating slippery fish.
The Stenopterygius wandered about throughout the Mesozoic period, is another part of the ichthyosaur family. One of a few that are believed to have been viviparous, or to have given birth to live young as opposed to laying eggs. Quite recently a specimen was found in what is now Germany, that still had some remnant, albeit minuscule traces, of fat and blubber, validating the theory that they were much like today’s dolphins.