Xinpusaurus

Name: Xinpusaurus ‭(‬Xinpu lizard‭)‬.
Phonetic: Zin-pu-sore-us.
Named By: G.‭ ‬Z.‭ ‬Yin,‭ ‬X.‭ ‬G.‭ ‬Zhou,‭ ‬Z.‭ ‬T.‭ ‬Cao,‭ ‬Y.‭ ‬Y.‭ ‬Yu‭ & ‬Y.‭ ‬M.‭ ‬Luo‭ ‬-‭ ‬2000.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Thalattosauria,Thalattosauroidea.
Species: X.‭ ‬suni‭ (‬type‭)‬,‭ ‬X.‭ ‬bamaolinensis‭? ‬X.‭ ‬kohi‭?
Diet: Carnivore/Piscivore.
Size: Varies depending upon species.‭ ‬X.‭ ‬suni betweem‭ ‬0.8‭ ‬-‭ ‬1‭ ‬meter long,‭ ‬X.‭ ‬bamaolinensis between‭ ‬1.4‭ ‬-‭ ‬1.5‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: China,‭ ‬Guizhou Province‭ ‬-‭ ‬Xiaowa Formation.
Time period: Carnian of the‭ ‬Triassic.
Fossil representation: Remains of a few individuals.

       Xinpusaurus is one of the better known thalattosaurs,‭ ‬and like others it had a laterally compressed tail that was suited to providing underwater locomotion as it hunted for prey like fish.‭ ‬Thalattosaurs still possessed four limbs though,‭ ‬not only betraying their terrestrial ancestry,‭ ‬but also indicating that they probably returned to the shore when they were done hunting.
       The upper jaw of Xinpusaurus protruded well beyond the extent of the lower.‭ ‬In X.‭ ‬suni the tip was fairly blunt,‭ ‬but in X.‭ ‬bamaolinensis it was much longer and pointed.‭ ‬This could have been a hunting feature for lashing against the bodies of fish in a furious manner,‭ ‬stunning and injuring the fish so that they are unable to get away.‭ ‬This behaviour would be analogous to how a swordfish hunts today,‭ ‬and the arrangement of the much longer upper jaw is also seen in some ichthyosaurs such as Excalibosaurus and Eurhinosaurus.‭ ‬This might be more true for X.‭ ‬bamaolinensis which also had pointed teeth that were better able for holding onto prey like fish,‭ ‬while the teeth of X.‭ ‬suni are blunter and slightly more robust,‭ ‬possibly indicating a different prey specialisation.
       A‭ ‬2013‭ ‬study of Xinpusaurus by Liu however has proposed that all three species are actually synonymous with each other,‭ ‬and if true that would mean that only the type species,‭ ‬X.‭ ‬suni,‭ ‬is valid.‭ ‬Also in‭ ‬2013,‭ ‬the description of a new and large thalattosaur genus called Concavispina found that to be the current closest known relative of Xinpusaurus.

Further reading
-‭ ‬A preliminary study on the early Late Triassic marine reptiles from Gunanling,‭ ‬Guizhou,‭ ‬China.,‭ ‬G.‭ ‬Z.‭ ‬Yin,‭ ‬X.‭ ‬G.‭ ‬Zhou,‭ ‬Z.‭ ‬T.‭ ‬Cao,‭ ‬Y.‭ ‬Y.‭ ‬Yu‭ & ‬Y.‭ ‬M.‭ ‬Luo‭ ‬-‭ ‬2000.
-‭ ‬Postcranial skeleton of Xinpusaurus,‭ ‬J.‭ ‬Liu‭ ‬-‭ ‬2001.
-‭ ‬A new species of Triassic Thalattosauria from Guanling,‭ ‬Guizhou,‭ ‬L.‭ ‬Cheng‭ ‬-‭ ‬2003.
-‭ ‬A new species of Xinpusaurus‭ (‬Thalattosauria‭) ‬from the Upper Triassic of China,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Jiang,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬W.‭ ‬Maisch,‭ ‬S.‭ ‬L.‭ ‬Sun,‭ ‬A.‭ ‬T.‭ ‬Matzke‭ & ‬W.‭ ‬C.‭ ‬Hao‭ ‬-‭ ‬2004.
-‭ ‬On Xinpusaurus‭ (‬Reptilia:‭ ‬Thalattosauria‭)‬,‭ ‬O.‭ ‬Rieppel‭ & ‬J.‭ ‬Liu‭ ‬-‭ ‬2006.
-‭ ‬On the taxonomy of Xinpusaurus‭ (‬Reptilia:‭ ‬Thalattosauria‭)‬,‭ ‬J.‭ ‬Liu‭ ‬-‭ ‬2013.



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