The ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs and other marine reptiles of the Mesozoic were amazing predators. New analytical methods are helping palaeontologists to extract enormous amounts of new information from the fossils, and to use this to work out their modes of life (how they swam, what their diets were; what their reproduction cycles were) as well as major events in their evolution. We can work out swimming speeds, improvements in swimming efficiency, the snappiness of their jaws, and how they were affected by multiple extinction events. In this recording of a live online talk Professor Michael Benton, from the University of Bristol, reviews the history from Mary Anning onwards, but with a focus on how we can use fossils and modern computing methods to establish key facts about palaeobiology and macroevolution.
Professor Michael James Benton FRS FRSE is based at the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol.