Kyhytysuka

Name: Kyhytysuka ‭(‬the one that cuts with something sharp‭)‬.
Phonetic: Ky-hy-ty-su-ka.
Named By: Dirley Cortés,‭ ‬Erin E.‭ ‬Maxwell,‭ & ‬Hans C.‭ ‬E.‭ ‬Larsson‭ ‬-‭ ‬2021.
Synonyms: Platypterygius sachicarum.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Ichthyosauria,‭ ‬Ophthalmosauria.
Species: K.‭ ‬sachicarum‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Piscivore/Carnivore.
Size: Skull about‭ ‬94‭ ‬centimetres long.
Known locations: Colombia‭ ‬-‭ ‬Paja Formation.
Time period: Early Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Skull.




       Originally assigned as a species of Platypterygius,‭ ‬Kyhytysuka is a genus of ichthyosaur that lived in waters around South America during the Early Cretaceous.‭ ‬Kyhytysuka is loosely described as a hyper carnivore,‭ ‬and this is because of many observations that can be made for the skull and teeth.‭
       In Kyhytysuka the teeth are not just large‭ (‬in comparison to some other ichthyosaur genera‭)‬,‭ ‬but they seem to come in three forms.‭ ‬The anterior most teeth‭ (‬at the tips of the jaws‭) ‬are better suited for piercing and seizing prey items.‭ ‬Half way along the jaws the teeth alter in form and arrangement to be better suited for cutting.‭ ‬The posterior most teeth‭ (‬back of the jaws‭) ‬are better‭ ‬adapted for crushing.‭ ‬All in all,‭ ‬Kyhytysuka could not just seize prey,‭ ‬but process its prey‭’‬s bodies by cutting and crushing.
       The skull also shows adaptation for a strong and violent feeding strategy,‭ ‬including being strengthened along its axis.‭ ‬The quadrate bone‭ (‬where upper jaw connects to lower jaw‭) ‬has a reinforced connection to the braincase,‭ ‬something that could infer much stronger biting muscles.‭ ‬The mandibular symphysis that connects the lower jaws is also reinforced.‭ ‬The jaws of Kyhytysuka could also open up to angles of‭ ‬70°‭ ‬to perhaps even‭ ‬75°‭ ‬wide.‭ ‬Kyhytysuka may have been able to swallow some large prey whole,‭ ‬especially if an expandable‭ ‬gular pouch was present.
       All in all Kyhytysuka was almost certainly a macro predator that fed with great strength and force.‭ ‬It is uncertain as to what animals Kyhytysuka hunted because frankly this was an ichthyosaur that could adapt to hunting a variety of animals.‭ ‬Strong bite muscles with shearing and crushing teeth might indicate tougher prey‭ ‬such as ammonites,‭ ‬turtles and crustaceans.‭ ‬Those feeding adaptations might have also been used against marine reptiles to slice and crush up their bones before swallowing.‭ ‬Fish might have‭ ‬also been caught and swallowed whole.‭
       The describers of Kyhytysuka noted smaller eye orbits and a linear jaw,‭ ‬which are features that‭ ‬might mean that Kyhytysuka hunted in shallower seas.

Further reading
-‭ ‬Platypterygius sachicarum‭ (‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Ichthyosauria‭) ‬nueva especie del Cretácico de Colombia.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Revista Ingeominas‭ (‬in Spanish‭)‬.‭ ‬6:‭ ‬1‭–‬12.‭ ‬-‭ ‬M.‭ ‬E.‭ ‬Páramo‭ ‬-‭ ‬2021.
-‭ ‬Re-appearance of hypercarnivore ichthyosaurs in the Cretaceous with differentiated dentition:‭ ‬revision of‭ '‬Platypterygius‭' ‬sachicarum‭ (‬Reptilia:Ichthyosauria,‭ ‬Ophthalmosauridae‭) ‬from Colombia.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Journal of Systematic Palaeontology:‭ ‬1‭–‬34.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Dirley Cortés,‭ ‬Erin E.‭ ‬Maxwell,‭ & ‬Hans C.‭ ‬E.‭ ‬Larsson‭ ‬-‭ ‬2021.



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