Cymbospondylus was a basal early ichthyosaur that lived between the middle and later years of the Triassic period (240-210 million years ago). Previously, the genus was classified as a shastasaurid, however, more recent work finds it to be more basal.
Cymbospondylus with a human to scale.Fossils have been found in both Germany and Nevada, and the first species was named by Joseph Leidy in 1868. It was not until the early 1900s that the first complete skeletons were discovered. Fossil vertebrae from Cymbospondylus were allegedly used as plates by Nevada's silver miners; it is now the state's official fossil.