Fast Facts Edit

Type: ‬Ichthyosaur
Diet:  Piscivore
Size: Around ‬3‭ ‬meters long.
Protection status: Extinct
The first specimen of Acamptonectes was discovered in‭ ‬1958‭ ‬from the Speeton Clay Formation,‭ ‬but was never officially described.‭ ‬A second specimen from this formation was recovered in‭ ‬1985.‭ ‬Early interpretations of Acamptonectes led to the conclusion that it was similar to Platypterygius,‭ ‬but a new discovery from Germany in‭ ‬2003‭ ‬was found to bear similarities to the‭ ‬1958‭ ‬material,‭ ‬a discovery that sparked fresh interest in the fossils.‭ ‬A fresh study that was a collaboration of all the palaeontologists involved with these specimens saw the formal creation of Acamptonectes as a valid genus,‭ ‬as well as realisation that it was actually more similar to ichthyosaurs like Ophthalmosaurus and Mollesaurus.

       The name Acamptonectes,‭ ‬which means‭ ‘‬rigid swimmer‭’‬,‭ ‬is a reference to the tightly packed cervical‭ (‬neck‭) ‬vertebra which means that Acamptonectes probably was not able to turn its head from side to side.‭ ‬Additionally the front half of the post cranial skeleton,‭ ‬particularly the strongly developed ribs also hint towards a very rigid forward body with the only real motion coming from the tail.‭ ‬This might suggest that Acamptonectes relied upon high forward speed in chasing down prey like fast swimming fish rather than trying to out manoeuvre them.‭ ‬This torpedo-like motion would be better suited for high speed as Acamptonectes would not experience unnecessary drag caused by the side to side swaying of a body in motion.‭ ‬Additional developments to reduce water resistance are the shallow snout and slender but sharp teeth that would have helped improve the overall streamlining of the body.

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