At 246 million years ago, cymbospondylus youngorum was “the size of a large sperm whale.” The en-Permian extinction is considered the worst ever. Ow, the connection to whales?
Paleontologists believe the ichthyosaurs grew exponentially within several million years, and that their growth was due in part to a massive increase in its prey, which included ammonoids and eel-like conodonts. These species’ populations boomed after a mass extinction called the end-Permian Extinction. “That’s one way this study stands out, as it allowed us to explore and gain some additional insight into body size evolution within these groups of marine tetrapods,” said Dr. Jorge Velez-Juarbe, an associate curator of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.Alexandra Larkin, “Large ocean fossil discovered in Nevada could hold key to aquatic evolution” at CBS News (December 23, 2021)
Really, the only connection is that youngorum is another life form that grew very large in a comparatively short period of time. Maybe a number of unrelated examples will point to a general rule but the story doesn’t shed light on the peculiar history of whales.
The paper is open access.