The Science of Nature

, 106:5 | Cite as

Lindwurmia, a new genus of Plesiosauria (Reptilia: Sauropterygia) from the earliest Jurassic of Halberstadt, northwest Germany

  • Peggy VincentEmail author
  • Glenn W. Storrs
Original Paper


This paper offers a re-description of one of the oldest (Lower Hettangian, Lower Jurassic) plesiosaurians (Reptilia: Sauropterygia) from Germany and discusses its phylogenetic relevance. Lindwurmia thiuda, new genus and species, is a moderately sized plesiosaur (estimated size between 2 and 3 m long) exhibiting several plesiomorphic features. Although it presents a short and robust premaxillary rostrum, constricted at the premaxilla–maxilla suture as observed in Rhomaleosauridae, its skull and skeleton share a great number of characters with basal sauropterygians and basal plesiosaurians: premaxillae and maxillae in contact posterior to the external nares, absence of contact between the vomers and the maxillae posterior to the internal nares, cervical zygapophyses wider than the vertebral centrum width and curved anterior border of the humerus. Phylogenetic analyses variably place Lindwurmia as sister taxon to Anningasaura and in a basal position to all other plesiosaurians or recover it among rhomaleosaurids. Most of the oldest plesiosaurians are known from the Hettangian or Hettangian-possibly Sinemurian strata of the UK (Lyme Regis and Street); Lindwurmia thus represents one of the oldest European taxa found outside of the UK.


Germany Hettangian Lower Jurassic Lindwurmia Plesiosauria 



Natural History Museum, London, UK


Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Oxford, UK


New Walk Museum, Leicester, UK


Städtisches Museum Halberstadt, Museum Heineanum, Germany


Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde, Stuttgart, Germany



We warmly thank Bernd Nicolai, Rüdiger Holz and Evelyn Winkelmann (Museum Heineanum, Halberstat) for access to the specimen. The manuscript benefited from extremely useful comments by Leslie F. Noè (Universidad de los Andes, Colombia) and two anonymous reviewers.

Funding information

This project was funded through Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral fellowships to PV. GWS was supported with funding from Cincinnati Museum Center, the University of Bristol and the Natural Environment Research Council.

Supplementary material

114_2018_1600_MOESM1_ESM.docx (16 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 16 kb)


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CR2P, MNHN–CNRS–Sorbonne UniversitéParisFrance
  2. 2.Staatliches Museum für NaturkundeStuttgartGermany
  3. 3.Cincinnati Museum Center, Geier Collections & Research CenterCincinnatiUSA

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