Named By: Wang - 1959.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Diapsida.
Species: N. suni (type).
Size: About 90-100 centimetres long.
Known locations: China - Nanchang Province.
Time period: Mid Triassic.
Fossil representation: At least one specimen.
with its probable relative Hupehsuchus,
Nanchangosaurus looked like
crossed with an archosaur. For this reason
Nanchangosaurus is regarded as being analogous to an
at best only distantly related to them, even though it is sometimes
listed as one. Unfortunately we can only guess to this exact
relationship since the kind of reptile that Nanchangosaurus
is so far poorly represented in the fossil record. Additionally the
immediate ancestors of the ichthyosaurs are also currently unknown,
although again Nanchangosaurus does resemble
primitive forms of these.
As a living reptile, Nanchangosaurus probably used its long jaws to gain additional reach in striking at prey such as fish and cephalopods. Primary swimming locomotion was probably achieved by side to side undulations of the tail, while the flipper shaped limbs steered like rudders, perhaps even helping to navigate submerged obstacles and weeds. Nanchangosaurus also had armoured ridges along its back, though these were not as well developed as those of Hupehsuchus. This might suggest that the armour was more of a throwback from a terrestrial ancestor that steadily degraded until it was eventually lost in more advanced forms, since the armour would not have been as much use in the water as it was on land. Such armour loss is seen in some later specialised marine crocodiles such as Metriorhynchus.
- The Enigmatic Marine Reptile Nanchangosaurus from the Lower Triassic of Hubei, China and the Phylogenetic Affinities of Hupehsuchia. - PLoS ONE 9 (7): e102361. - X. H. Chen, R. Motani, L. Cheng, D. Y. Jiang & O. Rieppel - 2014.