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Article: A reinterpretation of ichthyosaur swimming and buoyancy

Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 30
Part: 3
Publication Date: August 1987
Page(s): 531 535
Author(s): Michael Alan Taylor
Addition Information

How to Cite

TAYLOR, M. 1987. A reinterpretation of ichthyosaur swimming and buoyancy. Palaeontology30, 3, 531–535.

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The Palaeontological Association (Free Access)


A new functional analysis of the reversed heterocercal caudal fin of ichthyosaurs suggests that its function, other than propulsion, was not control of buoyancy, but to produce powerful downwards pitching moments. These moments were used to initiate manoeuvres, to dive after breathing at the surface, and, in one form, to feed. This model is of potential value in analysing the palaeobiology and evolution of ichthyosaurs and other marine reptiles with similar caudal fins.
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