Ancient Marine Reptiles - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780121552107, 9780080527215

Ancient Marine Reptiles

1st Edition

Editors: Jack Callaway Elizabeth Nicholls
eBook ISBN: 9780080527215
Hardcover ISBN: 9780121552107
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 28th February 1997
Page Count: 501
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Vertebrate evolution has led to the convergent appearance of many groups of originally terrestrial animals that now live in the sea. Among these groups are familiar mammals like whales, dolphins, and seals. There are also reptilian lineages (like plesiosaurs, ichthyosaurs, mosasaurs, thalattosaurs, and others) that have become sea creatures. Most of these marine reptiles, often wrongly called "dinosaurs", are extinct. This edited book is devoted to these extinct groups of marine reptiles. These reptilian analogs represent useful models of the myriad adaptations that permit tetrapods to live in the ocean.

Key Features

  • First book in more than 80 years devoted exclusively to fossil marine reptiles
  • Documents the most current research on extinct marine reptiles
  • Prepared by the world's most prominent experts in the field
  • Well illustrated


Ideal for advanced undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and researchers in vertebrate evolution and paleontology. This book should also have significant retail potential for sophisticated amateur vertebrate paleontologists

Table of Contents

M.A. Taylor, Foreword.


J.M. Callaway, Introduction.

P.M. Sander, The paleobiogeography of Shastasaurus.

J.M. Callaway, A New Look at Mixosaurus.

C. McGowan, A Transitional Ichthyosaur Fauna.

R. Motani, Temporal and Spatial Distribution of Tooth Implantation in Ichthyosaurs.


O.C. Rieppel, Introduction.

O.C. Rieppel and H. Hagdorn, Paleobiology of Middle Triassic Sauropterygia in Central and Western Europe.

G.W. Storrs, Morphologic and Taxonomic Clarification of the Genus Plesiosaurus.

K. Carpenter, Comparative Cranial Anatomy of Two North American Cretaceous Plesiosaurs.


E.L. Nicholls, Introduction.

R. Hirayama, Distribution and Diversity of Cretaceous Chelonoids.

D.K. Elliott, G.V. Irby, and J.H. Hutchison, Desmatochelys Iowa, a Marine Turtle from the Upper Cretaceous.

R.T.J. Moody, The Paleogeography of Marine and Coastal Turtles of the North Atlantic and Trans-Saharan Regions.


G.L. Bell, Jr., Introduction.

G.L. Bell, Jr., Phylogenetic Revision of North American and Adriatic Mosasauridea.

A. Sheldon, Ecological Implications of Mosasaur Bone Microstructure.


S. Hua and E. Buffetaut, Introduction.

R.K. Denton, Jr., J.L. Dobie, and D.C. Parris, The Marine Crocodile, Hyposaurus, in North America.

Faunas, Behavior, and Evolution:

J.A. Massare, Introduction.

S.G. Lucas, Marine Reptiles and Mesozoic Biochronology.

Z. Gasparini and M. Fernandez, Tithonian Marine Reptiles of the Eastern Pacific.

R. Collin and C.M. Janis, Morphological Constraints on Tetropod Feeding Mechanisms: Why Were There No Suspenion-Feeding Marine Reptiles?

R.L. Carroll, Mesozoic Marine Reptiles as Models of Long Term, Large-Scale Evolutionary Phenomena. Subject Index.


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 1997
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:
Hardcover ISBN:

About the Editor

Jack Callaway

Affiliations and Expertise

Texas A&M International University, Laredo, U.S.A.

Elizabeth Nicholls

Elizabeth Nicholls is Curator of Marine Reptiles at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology. She graduated in paleontology from the University of California, Berkeley (1968), where she first became interested in fossil marine reptiles while working for S.P. Welles. Subsequent degrees (M.Sc. and Ph.D.) were completed at the University of Calgary. Her study focus there was Cretaceous marine reptiles ofthe Western Interior Seaway. Her research includes publications on dinosaurs, ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, mosasaurs, thalattosaurs, and Cretaceous sea turtles.

Affiliations and Expertise

Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, Drumheller, Alberta, Canada


"Editors Callaway and Nicholls demonstrate, though, that fossil marine reptiles have played critical roles in the historical development of vertebrate paleontology and evolutionary theory. Their book compiles articles on various ancient marine reptile groups written by primary experts in the field... Recommended for any upper-division undergraduate or graduate-level library collection with strong emphasis on paleontology, evolution, and/or vertebrate morphology." --CHOICE

"Ancient Marine Reptiles provides an encyclopedic overview of major research accomplishments and frontiers in this new age. Editors Jack Callaway and Elizabeth Nicholls are important figures whose research collectively encompasses the majority of major marine reptile taxa and employs a broad range of methodologies. This volume will be a useful general reference to students and researchers seeking an introduction to the morphology, systematics, and faunal compositions of Mesozoic marine reptiles and will orient the reader to the range of research philosophies embraced by specialists in the field. Several contributions seem destined to become heavily cited [and] a lively interest in the reconstruction of evolutionary history is apparent through most of the volume. Callaway and Nicholls should be warmly thanked for placing contemporary marine reptile paleontology in the context of a scientific campaign that has continued for nearly two centuries and profoundly affected the general course of evolutionary sciences." --SYSTEMATIC BIOLOGY

"Ancient Marine Reptiles provides an invaluable reference for anyone with research interests in the structure and phylogeny of extinct marine reptiles. It presents a significant amount of new information for the first time. The book is attractively produced (including a stunning cover painting), well-referenced, and well-illustrated." --JOURNAL OF VERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY

"I applaud this volume. Most chapters are well-written and pertinent. The figures are informative and the references accurate." --NATURE

"The most useful sections to a more general audience are the introductory chapters, offering a summary of recent work. My impression is that the editors have succeeded in presenting a cross-section of current research on extinct, aquatic, marine reptiles." --COPEIA

"In a world so gaga over dinosaurs, it is pleasing to see marine reptiles get their due, as they do in this attractive, multi-authored volume of technical reports. This book covers the five major taxonomic groupings plus a section devoted to faunas, behavior and evolution. Each part has an excellent synthetic introduction that frames the major questions and reviews the overall taxonomy and phylogeny of that group. All told, this attractive book is a welcome compendium of the state of studies in marine reptiles. It will appeal to students of vertebrate paleontology and vertebrate biology." --AMERICAN SCIENTIST

" has to be stated that this is an excellent book. There are some excellent illustrations. This volume is a tremendously welcome addition and is a beautiful production with a fantastic reproduction of William Stoute's painting of a mosasaur on the cover. It should be a de rigeur purchase for any palaeontologial library." --Ian Jenkins in GEOLOGICAL MAGAZINE, 1999

"Ancient Marine Reptiles illustrates that there is more to the 'Age of Dinosaurs' than dinosaurs, and that weird and wonderful monsters provide unique perspectives on the past." --Tim Tokaryk in CANADIAN FIELD-NATURALIST, 1999

Ratings and Reviews