Museum Quality Articulated Triassic Polydactylic Ichthyosaur Relative

Name: Diapsida, Hupehsuchia; Nachangosauridae; Nanchangosaurus sp.

Geological Time: Early/Middle Triassic (~242 million years ago)

Size (25.4mm=1 inch): limb: 120 mm long by 60 mm wide
vertebral column: 65 mm long by 45 mm wide. Matrix: 130 mm by 95 mm

Fossil Site: Jianlingjiang Formation, Yuan’an County, Hubei Province of China

Code: NC02

Price: Sold

Nanchagosaurus Polydactylic Ichthyosaur RelativeDescription: The name Ichthyosaur means “fish-lizard”, and is an apt descriptor for these sea-going reptiles that predated the earliest dinosaurs by some 20 million years. The earliest Ichthyosaurs are known from Lower Triassic strata of North America and Asia. While the first Ichthyosaurs looked much like a lizard with fins, they rapidly evolved a more fish-like form which was a remarkable parallel to the modern-day dolphin. This is the hind limb and caudal dorsal vertebrae of a near-relative to the Ichthyosaurs known as Nanchangosaurus. Over Nanchagosaurus350 million years ago in the Devonian the earliest tetrapods like Acanthostega and Ichthyostega had far more than the modern complement of five digits (7 or 8), a condition known as polydactyly. This aquatic reptile lived some 100 million years later when such extra digits had been lost, and had SEVEN digits on the forelimb and SIX digits on the hind limb in what might be termed an atavistic (or throwback) condition thought to be an adaptation to its secondarily aquatic lifestyle. You can easily discern 6 articulated digits (there are a few displaced distal phalanges) in this most unusual fossil. While it bears some resemblance to the Ichthyosaurs, it is a member of the Hupehscuchia, what is termed a sister-group, indicating that they may have shared a common ancestor.

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