Celebration of Scholarship and Creative Activity 2021
In this study, a three-dimensional Ichthyosaur skull fossil was analyzed to determine whether it belonged to the relatively common Ichthyosaurus communis species or the rare Ichthyosaurus breviceps species. The three-dimensional preservation of the fossil is unique because deformation occurred in the dorsal-ventral direction, preserving the detailed anatomy of the skull roof. Measurements of the skull were taken for species comparison. The Ichthyosaur specimen matches closely to I. breviceps because it has a shorter snout and larger eyes, which are diagnostic traits of the species. The length of the snout to length of the jaw has a ratio of 0.449 on the study specimen. The diameter of the orbit to the length of the jaw has a ratio of 0.327 for the study. Both of those ratios match the breviceps diagnostic criteria. Crushing of the skull during fossilization has restricted the accuracy of certain measurements, limiting the ability to determine the precise identification of the species. Bone texture was used to determine the maturity level of the specimen. The nasal and frontal bones contain long-grained texture indicative of a juvenile. However, a comprehensive study of Ichthyosaur bone texture is needed to determine the significance of these data.