Vertebrae would have been joined together to form the vertebral column, providing fundamental support and movement to the body. We can gauge what animal the vertebra belonged to from the bone’s structure and shape: Ichthyosaurs tended to have disc-like vertebrae, whereas Plesiosaurs tended to have tall, thick vertebrae. Ichthyosaurs are believed to have first appeared in the early Triassic epoch – around 250 million years ago, when they evolved from a group of unidentified land reptiles who returned to the sea. They likely became extinct around 90 million years ago, during the late Cretaceous period.
Fossilised Ichthyosaur Vertebra
A well preserved fossilised vertebra from the Cretaceous period, dating to circa 100 million years ago. The disc-like shape of this vertebra suggests it is perhaps from an Ichthyosaur. This fossil was found in Southern England, and would have been one of the main discs forming a spine. Unfortunately, the spinous and transverse processes, the bony projections of vertebrae, are now missing, though the groove of the neural canal, where the spinal cord ran through, as well as the knobs where the processes were attached, are still clearly identifiable on the bone.
Period: Cretaceous Period
Provenance: From a Surrey gentleman's collection (DG), purchased on the London Art Market from an ADA member, formed 1990's onward.
Condition: Very good condition - there are some earthly encrustations along the item's surface.