Nanchangosaurus

Name: Nanchangosaurus ‭(‬Nanchang lizard‭).
Phonetic: Nan-chang-o-sore-us.
Named By: Wang‭ ‬-‭ ‬1959.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Diapsida.
Species: N.‭ ‬suni‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Piscivore/Carnivore.
Size: About 90-100‭ centi‬metres long.
Known locations: China‭ ‬-‭ ‬Nanchang Province.
Time period: Mid Triassic.
Fossil representation: At least one specimen.

       Like with its probable relative Hupehsuchus,‭ ‬Nanchangosaurus looked like an ichthyosaur crossed with an archosaur.‭ ‬For this reason Nanchangosaurus is regarded as being analogous to an ichthyosaur though 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 truly is,‭ ‬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.

Further reading
- 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.



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