, Volume 93, Issue 4, pp 200–206 | Cite as

An unusual archosaurian from the marine Triassic of China

  • Chun Li
  • Xiao-chun WuEmail author
  • Yen-nien Cheng
  • Tamaki Sato
  • Liting Wang
Short Communication


A new Triassic archosaurian from China shows a number of aquatic specializations, of which the most striking is the extreme lateral compression of the long tail. Others that may also reflect aquatic adaptations include platelike scapula and coracoid, elongate neck with extremely long and slender ribs, and reduction of osteoderms. In contrast, its pelvic girdle and hind limb have no aquatic modifications. Anatomic features, taphonomy, and local geological data suggest that it may have lived in a coastal–island environment. This lifestyle, convergent with some Jurassic marine crocodyliforms that lived at least 40 million years later and the saltwater species of extant Crocodylus, contradicts with the prevailing view that Triassic archosaurians were restricted to nonmarine ecosystems. Its mosaic anatomy represents a previously unknown ecomorph within primitive archosaurians.


Chevron Middle Triassic South China Block Pelvic Girdle Neural Spine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are deeply grateful to R. Holmes of the Canadian Museum of Nature (CMN), Ottawa for reading earlier drafts and editorial assistance. We thank K. De Queiroz and T. Hartsell of Smithsonian Institute, USA for providing the images of a skeleton of Amblyrhychus cristatus, and we also thank three reviewers for comments. Ding J-z of the IVPP skillfully prepared the holotype and paratype. Li C and Wang L were supported by research grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos: 40302007 and J9930095); Wu X-c and Cheng Y-n by CMN and NMNS, respectively; Sato T by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science; and Wu X-c by grants to Li C and Cheng Y-n during his visit to Beijing and Taichung. The authors declare that their experiments comply with the current laws of their countries.

Supplementary material

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114_2006_97_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (61 kb)
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114_2006_97_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (121 kb)
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114_2006_97_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (59 kb)
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chun Li
    • 1
  • Xiao-chun Wu
    • 2
    Email author
  • Yen-nien Cheng
    • 3
  • Tamaki Sato
    • 2
  • Liting Wang
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and PaleoanthropologyAcademia SinicaBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Canadian Museum of NatureOttawaCanada
  3. 3.National Museum of Natural ScienceTaichungRepublic of China
  4. 4.Geological Survey of Guizhou ProvinceGuiyangPeople’s Republic of China

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