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Ichthyosaur 960901 story of my last days

ichthyosaur rib
The Last Days of an Ichthyosaur 110 million years ago
Pregnant, sick and weak, unable to eat, with just two small gastroliths (grinding stones swallowed and used for breaking up food and ballast) and three fish vertebrae in its stomach Ichthyosaur 960901, used its last remaining energy to head out to deeper water.

Having made its way away from immediate predators, the 5 to 7 metre long dolphin look-alike and its unborn baby, died.
Its body quickly bloated in the warm, shallow seas that existed then, 110 million years ago, causing it to float even higher in the water than in life.

After a while its rotting carcass was attacked and eaten; ribs and all.
Buoyancy was lost and the heavy head, with spinal column attached dropped into the depths. The massive jaws speared into the oxygen poor gritty muck.

The spinal column and attached flesh, having been relieved of the weight of the head, was now able to float again, attached to the head anchored in the mud. Eventually the remaining flesh was eaten or rotted and the spinal bones deposited in a radial pattern on the surface of the mud.

Time passes. Mud rains on mud, deeper and deeper, slowly transforming bone to rock. Flowering plants replace conifers, cycads and ferns. Mountains build and erode. Time passes.The seas dry. The dinosaurs, rulers of the earth reach their zenith, then fade. Volcanoes come and go. Snakes, birds and bees appear. Mammals stalk the night and dominate the continents. They return to the sea as whales. Time passes. Giant sharks rule the sea. Ice ages come and go. Time passes. Rainforests cover Australia - gradually drying. Rock, once bone is exposed - a chance contact with a human.

bone ring to support the Ichthyosaur's enormous eye

A skeleton in a perilous place is excavated. Fourteen days later a freak storm, 200mm of rain in 24 hours, inundates the small gully; but the skeleton is already safe. A three dimensional jigsaw puzzle is cleaned, protected, reassembled over 3 months in the Home Economics room by the students of  Mount St. Bernard College and forwarrded to the The Queensland Museum - Kronosaurus Korner for all to see.

If you want to learn more...  visit  ICHTHYOSAURS and ICHTHYOSAUR FEATURES ..on this site!