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Triassic flying fish from China fled reptile predators

From: Ben Creisler

Non-dino article but is related to evolution of ichthyosaurs and other
marine reptiles, and recovery of Triassic ecosystems. The pdf is free:

Guang-Hui Xu, Li-Jun Zhao, Ke-Qin Gao and Fei-Xiang Wu (2012)
A new stem-neopterygian fish from the Middle Triassic of China shows
the earliest over-water gliding strategy of the vertebrates.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B (advance online publication)
doi: 10.1098/rspb.2012.2261

Flying fishes are extraordinary aquatic vertebrates capable of gliding
great distances over water by exploiting their enlarged pectoral fins
and asymmetrical caudal fin. Some 50 species of extant flying fishes
are classified in the Exocoetidae (Neopterygii: Teleostei), which have
a fossil record no older than the Eocene. The Thoracopteridae is the
only pre-Cenozoic group of non-teleosts that shows an array of
features associated with the capability of over-water gliding. Until
recently, however, the fossil record of the Thoracopteridae has been
limited to the Upper Triassic of Austria and Italy. Here, we report
the discovery of exceptionally well-preserved fossils of a new
thoracopterid flying fish from the Middle Triassic of China, which
represents the earliest evidence of an over-water gliding strategy in
vertebrates. The results of a phylogenetic analysis resolve the
Thoracopteridae as a stem-group of the Neopterygii that is more
crown-ward than the Peltopleuriformes, yet more basal than the
Luganoiiformes. As the first record of the Thoracopteride in Asia,
this new discovery extends the geographical distribution of this group
from the western to eastern rim of the Palaeotethys Ocean, providing
new evidence to support the Triassic biological exchanges between
Europe and southern China. Additionally, the Middle Triassic date of
the new thoracopterid supports the hypothesis that the
re-establishment of marine ecosystems after end-Permian mass
extinction is more rapid than previously thought.

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