Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- An order of gigantic extinct marine fish-like Reptilia, having somewhat the shape of a cetacean mammal, with an enormous head, no obvious neck, and a tapering body, with four paddle-like flippers, and probably a fin-like expansion of the caudal region. The vertebræ are very short, biconcave, and peculiar in other respects (see the extract); the spinal column is without a sacrum, and is divisible only into caudal and precaudal regions, the former being distinguished by the presence of chevron-bones, the latter by the presence of ribs which do not articulate with the sternum. The order is the same as the Ichthyopterygia of Owen, but is named more conformably with some other orders of extinct reptiles. Also Ichthyosaura, Ichthyosauri.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Paleon.) An extinct order of marine reptiles, including Ichthyosaurus and allied forms; -- called also
Ichthyopterygia. They have not been found later than the Cretaceous period.
- n. extinct marine reptiles: ichthyosaurs
“About us swarmed the mighty denizens of the primeval deep -- plesiosauri and ichthyosauria with all their horrid, slimy cousins whose names were as the names of aunts and uncles to Perry, but which I have never been able to recall an hour after having heard them.”
“If I went below that, I should come upon the chalk, and there I should find something altogether different, the remains of ichthyosauria and pterodactyles, and ammonites, and so forth.”
“I do not know what Mr. Godwin Austin would say comes next, but probably rocks containing more ammonites, and more ichthyosauria and plesiosauria, with a vast number of other things; and under that I should meet with yet older rocks containing numbers of strange shells and fishes; and in thus passing from the surface to the lowest depths of the earth's crust, the forms of animal life and vegetable life which I should meet with in the successive beds would, looking at them broadly, be the more different the further that I went down.”
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