It is previously thought that the post-extinction recovery was slow, taking up to 10 million years for diversity to return. Marine species seemed to be affected the most, with an estimated extinction rate of 96 percent. But one newly described marine reptile seems to defy this common belief.
Sclerocormus parviceps is an ichthyosauriform reptile that lived shortly after the extinction. This peculiar species’ anatomy defies its true ichthyosaur relatives, whose overall body plan highly resemble today’s dolphins.
Its toothless short snout was likely used to suck up food with pressure and its whip-like tail looks nothing like a dolphin’s powerful, finned tail.