SVP 14 – a new Diandongosaurus

Liu et al 2015
redescribe the basal sauropterygian/placodont Diandongosaurus with a new specimen.

Figure 2. Diandongosaurus exposed in ventral view, skull in dorsal view. Note the small size. At 72 dpi this image is 6/10 the original size.The last common ancestor of Diandongosaurus and Pachypleurosaurus was a sister to Anarosaurus at the base of the Sauropterygia.

Figure 1. Diandongosaurus exposed in ventral view, skull in dorsal view. Note the small size. At 72 dpi this image is 6/10 the original size.The last common ancestor of Diandongosaurus and Pachypleurosaurus was a sister to Anarosaurus at the base of the Sauropterygia.

From the abstract
“The eosauropterygian Diandongosaurus acutidentatus, first reported from the Upper Member of the Guanling Formation (Anisian, Middle Triassic) at Luoping, Yunnan Province, southwestern China, is a small pachypleurosaur-like form characterized by the following features: enlarged and procumbent teeth in the premaxilla and anterior portion of the dentary, fang-like maxillary teeth, clavicle with a distinct anterolateral process, 19 cervical and 19 dorsal vertebrae, and ungual phalanges of the pes extremely expanded. Except for the distinct anterolateral process of the clavicle, this taxon is very similar to Dinopachysaurus dingi, which is from the same locality and the same stratigraphic level, and of similar body size. Herein we describe a new, nearly complete skeleton of Diandongosaurus, which provides new information on the ventral side of the skull, the pectoral girdle and hind limbs. The posterior process of the interclavicle is absent, and the
coracoid foramen is present in the new specimen, features that cannot be seen in the holotype. The anterolateral process of the clavicle is more slender than that of the holotype. Furthermore, the phalangeal formula of the pes of the new specimen is 2-3-4-5-3, whereas the preserved phalangeal formula of the holotype is 2-3-4-6-4, and thus has a higher count for the fourth and fifth digits. The new specimen also shows that there are no vomerine teeth, the ‘anterior interpterygoid vacuity’ is absent, but a natural oval shaped ‘posterior interpterygoid vacuity’ is present, different from the referred specimen,
NMNS-000933-F03498. The results of our phylogenetic analysis also suggest Diandongosaurus is an eosauropterygian, closely related to the Eusauropterygia, and grouped together with Majiashanosaurus to form the sister-group of the Eusauropterygia.”

Different than the Liu et al. study,
the large reptile tree nests Diandongosaurus at the base of the Placodontia, derived from Anarosaurus, as described here. Shifting this specimen to the node suggested by Liu et al. adds 33 steps to the shortest tree.

Figure 2. Diandongosaurus family tree, nesting at the base of the Placodontia, yet still retaining its basal sauropterygian looks.

Figure 2. Diandongosaurus subset of the large reptile family tree, nesting at the base of the Placodontia, yet still retaining its basal sauropterygian looks.

References
Liu et al. 2015. A new specimen of Diandongosaurus acutidentatus (Sauropterygia) from the Middle Triassic of Yunnan, China. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology abstracts.

 

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