Name: Besanosaurus ‭(‬Besano lizard‭)‬.
Phonetic: Be-sah-noe-sore-us.
Named By: Dal Sasso and Pinna‭ ‬-‭ ‬1996.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Ichthyopterygia,‭ ‬Ichthyosauria,‭ ‬Shastasauridae.
Species: B.‭ ‬leptorhynchus‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Piscivore/Carnivore.
Size: Around‭ ‬6‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: Italy.
Time period: Ladinian of the Triassic.
Fossil representation: Almost complete specimen that includes the remains of four embryos inside the body.

       Besanosaurus was‭ ‬a‭ ‬primitive icthyosaur that lacked a dorsal fin and had a more eel-like tail rather than the fish-like tail seen in later more advanced genera.‭ ‬The jaws were long and thin,‭ ‬filled with small conical teeth for trapping marine organisms.‭ ‬The eyes that were around twenty centimetres in diameter may have been a deep water adaptation for seeing and hunting in the black of deep water.‭ ‬In fact,‭ ‬other shastasaurid ichthyosaurs are all envisioned as being relatively slow‭ (‬at least when compared to more advanced ichthyosaurs‭) ‬hunters of deep water cephalopods that descend to the gloom to hide from other predators that can only see well in light conditions.‭ ‬The presence of four unborn embryos inside the type specimen of Besanosaurus not only indicates it was a female,‭ ‬but that at least some genera of ichthyosaurs were capable of giving birth to a few young.
       At six meters in length you might think that Besanosaurus was big,‭ ‬but in reality this was less than a third of the length of its giant relative Shastasaurus.

Further reading
- Besanosaurus leptorhynchus n. gen. n. sp., a new shastasaurid ichthyosaur from the Middle Triassic of Besano (Lombardy, N. Italy). - Paleontologia Lombarda, Nuova serie, v. 4, p. 1-23. - C. Dal Sasso & G. Pinna - 1996.


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