Named By: D.-Y. Jiang, R. Motani, J.-D. Huang, A. Tintori, Y.-C. Hu, O. Rieppel, N. C. Fraser, C. Ji, N. P. Kelley, W.-L. Fu & R. Zhang - 2016.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Ichthyosauromorpha, Ichthyosauriformes.
Species: S. parviceps (type).
Size: Holotype about 1.6 meters long.
Known locations: China - Nanlinghu Formation.
Time period: Early Triassic.
Fossil representation: Skull and almost complete post cranial skeleton.
is a genus of primitive ichthyosauromorph that lived in waters around
Asia during the early Triassic. As a member of the group that was
ancestral to the ichthyosaurs,
Sclerocormus itself did not look
that much like one. The body of Sclerocormus was
quite stout and
stocky, while the tail of the animal took up just over half of the
total body length. The belly of Sclerocormuswas
not as deeply round
as later ichthyosaurs, and this feature combined with the straight
relatively thin tail have come together to form a creature that lived
in shallow waters.
Sclerocormus possessed short jaws that could be opened very quickly. It is thought that the sudden vacuum of the jaws opening could suck nearby animals into the mouth. The jaws being toothless mean that Sclerocormus would have been more suited to hunting soft bodied prey such as cephalopods and other molluscs.
- A large aberrant stem ichthyosauriform indicating early rise and demise of ichthyosauromorphs in the wake of the end-Permian extinction. - Scientific Reports 6:26232:1-9 - D.-Y. Jiang, R. Motani, J.-D. Huang, A. Tintori, Y.-C. Hu, O. Rieppel, N. C. Fraser, C. Ji, N. P. Kelley, W.-L. Fu & R. Zhang - 2016.