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Lot 889* - A207 Out of This World - Monday, 04. December 2023, 04.00 PM


Stenopterygius quadriscissus
Lower Jurassic, circa 200 million years
Holzmaden, Germany
124 × 32 cm

– Prof. Dr Eberhard Stechow, formerly Dean of the Leopoldina
– Private collection, Germany

Ichthyosaurs lived in the Mesozoic over a period of more than 150 million years and became extinct about 90 million years ago, which means that they were about 30 million years older than even the dinosaurs.

The name ichthyosaur comes from the Greek, meaning ‘fish lizard’. This ancient group of reptiles originally descended from land lizards and only later became aquatic, marine organisms. Their bodies show a strong resemblance to those of sharks and dolphins.

With its fish-like body, streamlined for aquatic life, and large eyes, which hint at intelligence, the ichthyosaur not only sparks our imagination, but is also assumed to have been an exceptional swimmer, reaching depths of more than 1,000 metres. Due to the size of its eyes, the reptile is said to have possessed a visual range of 500 metres underwater. The annular sclerotic ring, a bone structure bounding the eye, protected and supported it from pressure and speed while swimming and diving. Since they were still in need of air to breathe, the reptiles had to surface often.

This complete ichthyosaur specimen, prepared in the 1960s, is of exceptional quality and remains encased in its original stone slab. Notably, remnants of fossilised stomach contents, likely consisting of fish scales, are discernible within the specimen. A truly fantastic fossil, which continues to whisper secrets of the past, offering a glimpse into Earth's never-ending aquatic history.

CHF 45 000 / 60 000 | (€ 46 390 / 61 860)

Sold for CHF 75 000 (including buyer’s premium)
All information is subject to change.