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Sea Dragons

Big news about ichthyosaurs, which cruised ancient oceans while dinosaurs ruled the land

2:25pm, August 19, 2002

About 250 million years ago, reptiles stepped up to fill ecological niches left vacant in the wake of one of Earth's biggest mass extinctions. Just a few million years later, as the earliest dinosaurs stomped about on land, some of their reptilian relatives slipped into the surf and began to exploit the rich ocean ecosystems. Before long, these ichthyosaurs—Greek for fish lizards—became major players in the marine environment, taking on the roles that seals, dolphins, and whales occupy today.

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