The incompleteness of the fossil record obscures the origin of many of the more derived clades of vertebrates. One such group is the Ichthyopterygia, a clade of obligatory marine reptiles that appeared in the Early Triassic epoch, without any known intermediates. Here we describe a basal ichthyosauriform from the upper Lower Triassic (about 248 million years ago) of China, whose primitive skeleton indicates possible amphibious habits. It is smaller than ichthyopterygians and had unusually large flippers that probably allowed limited terrestrial locomotion. It also retained characteristics of terrestrial diapsid reptiles, including a short snout and body trunk. Unlike more-derived ichthyosauriforms, it was probably a suction feeder. The new species supports the sister-group relationships between ichthyosauriforms and Hupehsuchia, the two forming the Ichthyosauromorpha. Basal ichthyosauromorphs are known exclusively from south China, suggesting that the clade originated in the region, which formed a warm and humid tropical archipelago in the Early Triassic. The oldest unequivocal record of a sauropterygian is also from the same stratigraphic unit of the region.
A basal ichthyosauriform with a short snout from the Lower Triassic of China / R. Motani, D. Jiang, G. Chen, A. Tintori, O. Rieppel, C. Ji, J. Huang. - In: NATURE. - ISSN 0028-0836. - 517:7535(2015), pp. 485-488.
|Titolo:||A basal ichthyosauriform with a short snout from the Lower Triassic of China|
|Parole Chiave:||lethally hot temperatures; greenhouse; reptilia; amniotes; chaohu|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore GEO/01 - Paleontologia e Paleoecologia|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2015|
|Data ahead of print / Data di stampa:||5-nov-2014|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature13866|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|