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> Are they any reconstructions of these sauropterygians that were sister
> groups of the plesiosaurs.
There are plenty of reconstructions of _Corosaurus_, _Simosaurus_
and other taxa which (according to Storrs and some other authors) are
closer to plesiosaurs than to other 'nothosaurs'. Rieppel argues for a
monophyletic Nothosauria that includes most 'nothosaurs' of Storrs as
well as pachypleurosaurs.
> Are there any known fossils that lie outside the plesiosaur-nothosaur
> containing clade but within the clade formed by placodonts with the
> former two
See the papers by Storrs and Rieppel for different views. Incidentally,
the evidence that placodonts are sauropterygians is pretty good but not
all sauropterygian workers are convinced.
> I looked into Sander et al describing Augustasaurus where they
> mention a primitive plesiosaur Thalasiodracon but given not in
> formation. How much of this beast is known?
_Thalassiodracon hawkinsi_ is a small plesiosaur from the Lower Lias
(possibly latest Rhaetian-Hettangian) of England that was previously
lumped into _Plesiosaurus_. It looks pretty much like _P.
dolichodeirus_ but has a proportionally shorter neck and larger head -
several 100% complete individuals are known: see Storrs and Taylor
in _JVP_ (I think it was 1996). _T. hawkinsi_ individuals are always
fairly small - less than 3 m total length.
Have just returned from the better part of a week messing around at
Kettleness, near Whitby (Yorkshire coast) - a veritable marine reptile
fest with ichthyosaurs and rhomaleosaurs aplenty. Was mostly the
filming of an ichthyosaur excavation arranged by Phil Manning and
with many local collectors on site. Whitby Museum was fun with real
skeletons of '_Ichthyosaurus' acutirostris_ (=_Leptonectes_),
_crassimanus_ (= ???) and _platyodon_ (=_Temnodontosaurus_) on
show as well as a complete _Rhomaleosaurus_ (surprisingly long
necked) and _Teleosaurus chapmani_ (a new one on me... is it now in
_Steneosaurus bollensis_?). I got burnt by the sun and collected lots of
pieces of dead seabird. Found a fossil ichthyosaur centrum on the
beach as well.
Week before that I was at York for the official opening of the Walking
With Dinosaurs exhibition at York Museum. Great stuff. Apparently
Prince Philip thinks that pliosaurs are still alive.
PALAEOBIOLOGY RESEARCH GROUP
School of Earth, Environmental & Physical Sciences
UNIVERSITY OF PORTSMOUTH
Burnaby Road email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Portsmouth UK tel: 01703 446718