Named By: Michael W. Maisch & Andreas T. Matzke - 1998.
Synonyms: Ichthyosaurus atavus, Mixosaurus atavus.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Ichthyosauria, Mixosauridae.
Species: C. atavus (type).
Size: Roughly about 5 meters long.
Known locations: Germany.
Time period: Carnian of the Triassic.
Fossil representation: Partial skull.
Contectopalatus was originally described as a species of Ichthyosaurus, the type genus of the Ichthyosauria that in the early days of palaeontology was treated as a catch all wastebasket taxon for any and all ichthyosaur fossils. Later study saw Ichthyosaurus atavus assigned to the Mixosaurus genus upon the grounds of overall similarity to the genus Mixosaurus. The fossils of Mixosaurus atavus however were of an ichthyosaur that was significantly larger than other Mixosaurus fossils, and a 1998 study by Maisch and Matzke saw these fossils established as a new ichthyosaur genus, Contectopalatus. Others have questioned this new genus since it was named, though at the time of writing Contectopalatus is still widely regarded as a distinct genus. The main reason for this is that the skull of Contectopalatus has a distinctly higher sagiital crest than Mixosaurus.
- Observations on Triassic ichthyosaurs. Part III: a crested predatory mixosaurid from the Middle Triassic of the Germanic Basin. - Neues Jahrbuch fur Geologie und Palaontologie, Abhandlungen 209(1):105-134 - Michael W. Maisch & Andreas T. Matzke - 1998.
- The mixosaurid ichthyosaur from the Middle Triassic Contectopalatus of the German Basin Lethaia 33. 71-74. - Michael W. Maisch & Andreas T. Matzke - 2000.
- The cranial osteology of the middle Triassic ichthyosaur Contectopalatus from Germany - Palaeontology, Vol. 44, Part 6, pp. 1127-1156, 1 pl. - Michael W. Maisch & Andreas T. Matzke. - 2001.