Short-necked marine reptile discovered in China
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Short-necked marine reptile discovered in China

Published On: Thu, Dec 18th, 2014 | Health | By BioNews

A new species of short-necked marine reptile called Hupehsuchia from the Triassic period has been discovered in China.

The reptile was found by Xiao-hong Chen from Wuhan Centre of China Geological Survey and his colleagues.

Hupehsuchia is a group of mysterious Triassic marine reptiles and it is known by its modestly long neck, with nine to ten cervical vertebrae.

The Chinese team has recently discovered a new species of Hupehsuchia that showed for the first time a species with a short neck (six cervical vertebrae) and named that species Eohupehsuchus brevicollis.

Image Credit: Plos One

Image Credit: Plos One

The left forelimb of this specimen is incomplete, ending with broken digits.

Scientists suspect the breakage occurred pre-burial, may be due to an attack by predators.

Apart from short neck, the skull shape, with narrow forehead and parietal bones on the top of the head shifted back, the species has been found to be a new one.

By analysing related species the researchers believe that this new species forms the sister taxon of Hupehsuchidae.

The team outlined their findings in the journal PLOS ONE.

Chen X-h, Motani R, Cheng L, Jiang D-y, Rieppel O (2014) The Enigmatic Marine Reptile Nanchangosaurus from the Lower Triassic of Hubei, China and the Phylogenetic Affinities of Hupehsuchia. PLoS ONE 9(7): e102361. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102361

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