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The strange case of the Jurassic Ichthyosaur
Liston, J.; Naish, D.; Fischer, V. (2011). The strange case of the Jurassic Ichthyosaur, in: Forrest, R. (Ed.) 59th Annual Symposium of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy, September 12th–17th 2011, Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK: abstracts. pp. 16
In: Forrest, R. (Ed.) (2011). 59th Annual Symposium of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy, September 12th–17th 2011, Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK: abstracts. SVPCA: UK. 36 pp., more

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  • Liston, J.
  • Naish, D.
  • Fischer, V., more

Abstract
    A report is given on the four decades of unpublished research on a novel ichthyosaur taxon from Iraq. Found in 1952 by field workers for Iraq Oil, it was donated to the Natural History Museum (London), then borrowed by the late Robert M. Appleby at University College, Cardiff. Appleby aimed to complete a full description of the specimen; his final manuscript also included an extensive discussion of the stratigraphic provenance of the specimen, its phylogenetic affinities, and speculations on its possible ecology. During his investigation, a broad collaboration ensued with members of the universities of Reading and Cambridge and HV Dunnington & Associates (exploration and resource appraisal consultants), as Appleby attempted to constrain the precise age of the specimen within the Jurassic Sargelu Formation. However, the manuscript resulting from this collaboration (submitted to the journal Palaeontology in 1979) was not deemed to have satisfactorily addressed that outstanding question. Although Appleby continued to work widely on ichthyosaurs up until his death in 2004, he was unable to resolve this problem. Subsequent work by the first two authors, incorporating archival research and a revisiting of earlier laboratory techniques, has led to a conclusive resolution of this issue, making it possible for a manuscript describing the specimen to finally be acceptable for publication. Resulting from one of several pieces of Appleby’s unpublished research, the new Iraq taxon has major implications for our understanding of ichthyosaurian diversity, phylogeny and distribution across time and space.

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