Named By: Curioni - 1847.
Synonyms: Deirosaurus italicus, Eupodosaurus longobardicus, Lariosaurus carinthiacus, Macromirosaurus plini, Macromirosaurus plinii, Proneusticosaurus carinthiacus.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Sauropsida, Nothosauria, Nothosauridae.
Species: L. balsamii (type), L. curioni, L. valceresii, L. xingyiensis.
Size: 60 centimetres long.
Known locations: Europe, China.
Time period: Anisian to Ladinian of the Triassic.
Fossil representation: Several known specimens.
small by nothosaur
standards, Lariosauru remains
one of the most
important nothosaurs known to palaeontology as remains are so well
preserved they contain the presence of juvenile Lariosaurus,
as what they ate. The juvenile specimens inside an adult Lariosaurus
are very well preserved suggesting that they were not chewed or eaten,
and that Lariosaurus were possibly not
cannibalistic. As such if the
popular theory of them being young waiting to be born is correct,
then it proves that the marine reptiles had developed the ability to
give birth to live young before they were completely restricted to
aquatic life. This has long been suspected for later and larger
marine reptiles like ichthyosaurs,
terrestrial movement would have been impossible for these reptiles.
While nothosaurs in general are thought to have eaten fish, Lariosaurus is confirmed to have eaten other marine reptiles, specifically placodonts as indicated by the remains of two Cyamodus juveniles inside one Lariosaurus skeleton.
Lariosaurus also seems to be a marine reptile in transition to a more aquatic life. This is because while the rear legs were still suited to land movement, the front legs had evolved to form paddles. This would be a hindrance to movement on land, but a considerable bonus when swimming in the water.
- "Eupodosaurus longobardicus". Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 6 8:407 - G. A. Boulenger - 1891.
- The status of the sauropterygian reptile genera Ceresiosaurus, Lariosaurus, and Silvestrosaurus from the Middle Triassic of Europe. - Fieldiana: Geology, new series 38:1-46. - O, Rieppel - 1998.
- A new species of Lariosaurus (Sauropterygia: Nothosauridae) from Triassic of Guizhou, southwest China. - Vertebrata PalAsiatica 40(2):122-126. - J.-L. Li, J. Liu & O. Rieppel - 2002.