DescriptionA TRIASSIC REPTILE
Tingziao Formation, Guizhou Province, People's Republic Of China
This skeleton is from a superorder of primitive aquatic reptiles known as the Sauropterygia, meaning "lizard flippers". The name of this well-known species derives from Kweichow (now Guizhou Province) in China where the first fossil specimen of the genus was discovered in 1957. Their well-developed shoulder muscles have prompted the speculation that they were land-dwelling animals, or at least amphibious, who eventually adapted to become fully aquatic. Victims of the Triassic-Jurassic extinction event, their prior evolutionary history is uncertain, but it is generally accepted that they subsequently evolved into the more familiar marine forms with fully paddled feet, known to us as the plesiosaurs, pliosaurs and elasmosaurs. This beautiful specimen is well-prepared with uncommon clarity and displays the characteristic long neck, short limbs and heavy ribs of its species, standing out in a rich black color from the 12¼ x 6½-inch pale gray matrix.
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