Ichthyosaurs are iconic marine reptiles of the Mesozoic. Their discovery in England at the beginning of the 19th century and theirstudy by the greatest names of the natural sciences (Blainville, Owen,Cuvier ...) have contributed to the conceptual revolution of Earth’s history.



The present specimen is exceptional and unique for its threedimensional, sculptural mounting on a custom-fitted brass stand (laiton). The geological formation containing Toarcian fossils in which it was discovered was found in France. The specimen was discovered and excavated in the early 2000s during construction on the high-speed TGV line in Eastern France. This formation is of the same age as in Holzmaden, Germany but the bones are less compressed. Ichthyosaurs from Holzmaden are traditionally prepared two-dimensionally on a slab.

Extraordinary skill and precision not only enabled the tedious extraction of the fossilized bones one by one from its matrix, but also made it possible to rebuild the skeleton in 3D. Only a handful of ichthyosaurs have ever been reconstructed this way. This individual specimen represents more than two years of work by a specialist.

The skull of the specimen shows a wonderful preservation, only few teeth and the sclerotic ring have been restored. The shoulder grindle is complete and carries the forelimbs composed of original humeri, radius, ulna, metacarpals and 65% of original phalanges. Of the pelvic bones, pubis and ischium are original, and the hind limbs are 100% complete.

Overall, this makes this skeleton extremely complete with a total of more than 80% original bones. It is the first time that a complete specimen like this, found in France, will be up for auction