Known from several specimens, Guizhouichthyosaurus, had a long rostrum and sharp teeth (Fig. 2). When a sea creature has such large flippers the tendency is to imagine that it swam using those paddles/underwater wings. It probably had only a rudimentary tail fin, like Phalarodon or Mixosaurus.
Guizhouichthyosaurus provides clues to the ancestry of the big-fippered Shonisaurus, one of the giants among ichthyosaurs.
Guizhouichthyosaurus is also related to the smaller-flippered and misnamed ‘Cymbospondylus’ buchseri (Sander 1989, Fig. 4), which looks a bit like a mosasaur. Now it needs a new generic name. Earlier we looked at other ichthyosaurs more recently misnamed by Sander et al. (2011).
I have previously overlooked and ignored most ichthyosaurs because I was more interested in their ancestry among Wumengosaurus, Thaisaurus and beyond to the mesosaurs. But they are a fascinating clade with some odd morphologies worth looking into.
Maisch M et al. 2015. Cranial osteology of Guizhouichthyosaurus tangae (Reptilia: Ichthyosauria) from the Upper Triassic of China. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 26(3): 588-597.
Yin G-Z, Zhou X, Cao Y, Yu Y and Lu Y 2000. A preliminary study on the early Late Triassic marine reptiles from Guanling, Guizhou, China. Geology-Geochemisty 28(3):1–23 (Chinese with English abstract).
Sander PM 1989. The large ichthyosaur Cymbospondylus buchseri sp. nov., from the Middle Triassic of Monte San Giorgio (Switzerland), with a survey of the genus in Europe. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 9(2): 163-173.
Sander PM, Chen X-C, Cheng L and Wang X-F 2011. Short-snouted toothless ichthyosaur from China suggests Late Triassic diversification of suction feeding ichthyosaurs. PlosOne DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0019480