(Hupeh crocodile - Hupeh is an alternative spelling to Hubei).
Named By: Young & Dong - 1972.
Classification: Choradta, Reptilia, Diapsida, Hupehsuchia.
Species: H. nanchangensis (type).
Size: About 90-100 centimetres long.
Known locations: China - Hubei Province.
Time period: Olenkian (to possibly Ladinian) of the Triassic.
Fossil representation: At least two specimens.
is an odd name to what has often been regarded as an ichthyosaur-like
reptile given that the suchus part is Ancient Greek for crocodile.
However, Hupehsuchus is considered to only
resemble an ichthyosaur
in form, and is in fact probably not related to ichthyosaurs at all.
Beyond this it currently remains impossible to be certain as to how
Hupehsuchus relates to this better known group of
One possibility is that Hupehsuchus shares a
common ancestor to
ichthyosaurs, while another is that its form is simply a case of
Hupehsuchus had long jaws that were filled with small sharp teeth that were probably used to seize fish. Hupehsuchus is also described as polydactyl in that the front limb flippers have seven digits each while the hind limb paddles have six digits each. Hupehsuchus also had ridges of armour running down its back, possible protection from other predators such as sharks, though this armour may have been a relict feature from recently terrestrial ancestors.
So far Hupehsuchus is considered to be only closely related to Nanchangosaurus, a very similar reptile also known from the Triassic of China. In fact past speculation has suggested that Hupehsuchus and Nanchangosaurus may be the same as one another, even though Hupehsuchus has much heavier armour in more prominent ridges than Nanchangosaurus.
- Hupehsuchus, an enigmatic reptile from the Triassic of China, and the problem of establishing relationships. - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 331:131-153. - R. L. Carroll & Z.-M. Dong - 1991.