The Early Triassic ichthyopterygian Chaohusaurus chaoxianensis was previously known from juvenile specimens only. It was considered to represent immature forms of C. geishanensis, which was based on a single adult specimen, because allometric regression lines of the forelimb skeletons suggested that the two name groups fitted along a single growth trajectory. The sample size for the analysis, however, was small (n = 5). We collected new specimens of Chaohusaurus from Majiashan, Chaohu City, Anhui Province, China, through field excavations that started in 2010. New specimens included an immature individual whose forelimb resembled that of mature C. geishanensis, as well as a large adult individual whose forelimb retained the characteristics of immature C. chaoxianensis. Therefore, C. chaoxianensis is not the juvenile of C. geishanensis. With the addition of the new specimens, two growth trajectories are now clearly detected on allometric regression plots (n = 15). The two species are unambiguously distinguished from each other based on a suite of discrete characters that are diagnostic to each species, as well as statistical analyses of forelimb measurements. It is unlikely that the two forms represent the genders of a single species given that C. geishanensis is vastly outnumbered by C. chaoxianensis and completely lacking in major fossiliferous rock layers. Therefore, C. chaoxianensis should be resurrected as a valid species.
|Titolo:||Status of Chaohusaurus chaoxianensis (Chen, 1985)|
|Parole Chiave:||Ichthysosaurs; evolution; China|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore GEO/01 - Paleontologia e Paleoecologia|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2015|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1080/02724634.2014.892011|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|