Nannopterygius

Name: Nannopterygius ‭(‬Small wing‭)‬.
Phonetic: Nan-nop-teh-ree-ge-us.
Named By: Friedrich von Huene‭ ‬-‭ ‬1922.
Synonyms: Ichthyosaurus enthekiodon.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Ichthyosauria,‭ ‬Ophthalmosauria,‭ ‬Ophthalmosauridae.
Species: N.‭ ‬enthekiodon‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Piscivore.
Size: About‭ ‬2.5‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: England‭ ‬-‭ ‬Kimmeridge Clay Formation.‭ ‬Ichthyosaur remains from Germany might also represent Nannopterygius.
Time period: Callovian/Tithonian of the Jurassic.
Fossil representation: Single specimen.

       Nannopterygius was first described in‭ ‬1871‭ ‬by John Hulke,‭ ‬but as a species of Ichthyosaurus,‭ ‬I.‭ ‬enthekiodon.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬the Ichthyosaurus genus was once treated as a wastebasket taxon,‭ ‬and many former species of Ichthyosaurus have now been re-assigned as distinct genera.‭ ‬This is what happened later in the early twentieth century when another palaeontologists Friedrich von Huene renamed Ichthyosaurus enthekiodon as Nannopterygius.‭ ‬Nannopterygius is today considered to be identified as an ophthalmosaurid ichthyosaur not only indicating that Nannopterygius was a relative to the famous Ophthalmosaurus,‭ ‬but that Nannopterygius was probably a deep diving ichthyosaur that would swim down into the oceanic depths where there was very little light to hunt deep sea organisms such as squid.‭
       The name Nannopterygius actually means small wing,‭ ‬but in this respect it is the superficial similarity of the fore limb pectoral flipper to‭ ‬a‭ ‬wing that is the focus of this.‭ ‬Despite possible confusion from this,‭ ‬the pectoral fins actually do act in a similar manner to the wings of a plane by generating lift.‭ ‬You see the drawback of being propelled‭ ‬by being pushed‭ ‬from the rear such as tail is that unless you happen to be generating incredible amounts of thrust,‭ ‬you inevitably end up pitching down from the effects of gravity.‭ ‬Using the pectoral fins however,‭ ‬and ichthyosaurs,‭ ‬or fish,‭ ‬or even a submarine for that matter can control the pitch of the body so that upwards,‭ ‬downwards or even just level swimming can be maintained.

Further reading
-‭ ‬Note on an Ichthyosaurus‭ (‬I.‭ ‬enthekiodon) from Kimmeridge Bay,‭ ‬Dorset.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society,‭ ‬27,‭ ‬440‭–‬441.‭ ‬-‭ ‬John Hulke‭ ‬-‭ ‬1871.
- Die Ichthyosaurier des Lias und ihre Zusammenhänge.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Verlag von Gebrüder Borntraeger,‭ ‬Berlin,‭ ‬114‭ ‬pp‭ ‬22‭ ‬pls.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Friedrich von Huene‭ ‬1922.
-‭ ‬The Ichthyosauria.‭ ‬Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde,‭ ‬Serie B.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Geologie und Paläontologie‭)‬,‭ ‬298,‭ ‬1‭–‬159.‭ ‬-‭ ‬M.‭ ‬W.‭ ‬Maisch‭ & ‬A.‭ ‬T.‭ ‬Matzke‭ ‬-‭ ‬2000.



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