Hupehsuchus

Name: Hupehsuchus ‭(‬Hupeh crocodile‭ ‬-‭ ‬Hupeh is an alternative spelling to Hubei‭)‬.
Phonetic: Hu-peh-soo-kus.
Named By: Young‭ & ‬Dong‭ ‬-‭ ‬1972.
Classification: Choradta,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Diapsida,‭ ‬Hupehsuchia.
Species: H.‭ ‬nanchangensis‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Piscivore/Carnivore.
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.

       Hupehsuchus 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 marine reptiles.‭ ‬One possibility is that Hupehsuchus shares a common ancestor to ichthyosaurs,‭ ‬while another is that its form is simply a case of convergent evolution.
       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.

Further reading
- 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.



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