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We report new ichthyosaur material excavated in lower Toarcian levels of the LafargeHolcim Val d'Azergues quarry in Beaujolais, SE France. A partially articulated skull and a smaller, unprepared but likely subcomplete skeleton preserved in a carbonate concretion are identified as stenopterygiids, a family of wide European distribution during the Early Jurassic. These specimens are among the finest preserved Toarcian exemplars known from Europe and, in one of them, soft tissue preservation is suspected. Their state of preservation is attributed to the combination of prolonged anoxic conditions near the water–sediment interface and early carbonate cementation resulting from the activity of sulfate-reducing bacteria. We also present carbon and strontium isotope values obtained from the study site that allow detailed temporal comparisons with other Toarcian vertebrate-yielding sites and environmental perturbations associated with the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (T-OAE). These comparisons suggest that the relatively high abundance and good preservation state of Toarcian vertebrates was favoured by a prolonged period of low bottom water oxygenation and accumulation rates. The environmental conditions that prevailed during the T-OAE were probably responsible for the extensive nature of Lagerstätte-type deposits with exceptional preservation of marine organisms. Testing whether the T-OAE had a biological impact on marine vertebrates requires a precise chemostratigraphic context of the fossil record spanning the Pliensbachian–Toarcian interval.

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