Name: Atychodracon ‭(‬Unfortunate dragon‭)‬.
Phonetic: At-e-ko-dray-kon.
Named By: Adam S.‭ ‬Smith‭ ‬-‭ ‬2015.
Synonyms: Rhomaleosaurus megacephalus,‭ ‬Plesiosaurus megacephalus.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Sauropterygia,‭ ‬Plesiosauria,‭ ‬PLiosauroidea,‭ ‬Rhomaleosauridae‭?
Species: A.‭ ‬megacephalus‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Carnivore/Piscivore.
Size: Roughly about‭ ‬4.9‭ ‬meters long for the holotype.
Known locations: England‭ ‬-‭ ‬Blue Lias Formation.
Time period: Late Triassic/Early Jurassic.
Fossil representation: Holotype destroyed,‭ ‬but detailed casts of the original have survived.

       Atychodracon was originally named as a species of Plesiosaurus back in‭ ‬1846‭ ‬when the first specimen was described by Samuel Stuchbury.‭ ‬At this time Plesiosaurus had fast become a wastebasket taxon with any fossils remotely similar to Plesiosaurus being almost immediately attributed to the genus as a new species.‭ ‬Many former species of Plesiosaurus have now been‭ ‬re-described as either belonging to other genera,‭ ‬or even as their own genus,‭ ‬but the destruction of what should have been the holotype of Atychodracon in World War Two slowed down the discovery.
       This destruction happened on the‭ ‬24th November‭ ‬1940‭ ‬when German bombers hit the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery.‭ ‬Fortunately however,‭ ‬before this bombing raid occurred a series of finely detailed casts were made of the holotype and stored in the Natural History Museum,‭ ‬London,‭ ‬and it is from these that the truth of this marine reptile has been learned.‭ ‬in‭ ‬1994‭ ‬Plesiosaurus megacephalus was credited as a species of Rhomaleosaurus‭ ‬by A.‭ ‬R.‭ ‬I.‭ ‬Cruickshank,‭ ‬but it was later still in‭ ‬2015‭ ‬when Adam S.‭ ‬Smith re-classified Rhomaleosaurus megacephalus as a whole new genus,‭ ‬Atychodracon megacephalus.
       As a rhomaleosaurid pliosaur,‭ ‬Atychodracon would have looked somewhere in between the long-necked,‭ ‬small headed plesiosaurs,‭ ‬and the short-necked large headed pliosaurid pliosaurs that would become common later in the Jurassic.‭ ‬Like with its rhomaleosaurid cousins,‭ ‬Atychodracon would have had a proportionately larger head‭ (‬in fact the species name megacephalus means‭ ’‬big head‭’)‬,‭ ‬while still having a longish neck.‭ ‬Because of this Atychodracon was probably still capable of hunting for fish,‭ ‬but may have also tackled larger marine animals such as the juveniles of plesiosaurs.
       Aside from the original casts,‭ ‬a referred individual colloquially known as the‭ ‘‬Barrow Kipper‭’ (‬after the town of Barrow‭) ‬is also attributed to Atychodracon.

Further reading
-‭ ‬Description of a new species of Plesiosaurus,‭ ‬in the Museum of the Bristol Institution.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society‭ ‬2:‭ ‬411‭–‬417.-‭ ‬Samuel Stutchbury‭ ‬-‭ ‬1846.
-‭ ‬Cranial anatomy of the Lower Jurassic pliosaur Rhomaleosaurus megacephalus‭ (‬Stutchbury‭) (‬Reptilia:‭ ‬Plesiosauria‭)‬.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London,‭ ‬Series B,‭ ‬343:247-260.‭ ‬-‭ ‬A.‭ ‬R.‭ ‬I.‭ ‬Cruickshank‭ ‬-‭ ‬1994a.
-‭ ‬Reassessment of‭ ‘‬Plesiosaurus‭’ ‬megacephalus‭ (‬Sauropterygia:‭ ‬Plesiosauria‭) ‬from the Triassic-Jurassic boundary,‭ ‬UK.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Palaeontologia Electronica‭ ‬18‭ (‬1‭)‬:‭ ‬1‭–‬20.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Adam S.‭ ‬Smith‭ ‬-‭ ‬2015.


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