Since the early 1800s, when Mary Anning discovered spectacular marine reptile skeletons on Dorset's 'Jurassic Coast', these enormous, strange and often ferocious underwater creatures have enthralled the public imagination. Expert palaeontologist Darren Naish introduces these monstrous marine reptiles, such as the mosasaur, known as the 'T-rex of the deep', giant fish bigger than any others that have ever lived, and enduring predators such as sharks, who survived extinction events to become the ocean's apex predators.
He examines their anatomy and behaviour, their diversity and lifestyle, and charts their evolutionary rise and domination of the Mesozoic seas which spanned over 150 million years. He reveals how these reptiles moved in water, the anatomical advantages of their soft tissue, skin, and blubber, as well as their reproduction, social life and sensory world. Later chapters focus on each of the major lineages: the shark-shaped ichthyosaurs, the long-necked plesiosaurs; the crocodile-like thalattosuchians, the fast swimming mosasaurs, and the first sea turtles. Ancient Sea Reptiles is richly illustrated with striking specimens and photography, as well as artistic reconstructions which bring these terrible creatures to life.
Darren Naish is a British vertebrate palaeontologist and a research associate at the University of Southampton. He mostly works on Cretaceous dinosaurs and pterosaurs but has an avid interest in all things tetrapod. He is the co-author of Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved.