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Xinpusaurus (Triassic thalattosaur from China) morphology and taxonomy (free pdf)

Ben Creiser

A new paper in open access:

Michael W. Maisch (2014)
On the morphoplogy and taxonomic status of Xinpusaurus kohi JIANG et
al., 2004 (Diapsida: Thalattosauria) from the Upper Triassic of China.
Palaeodiversity 7: 47–59

Additional preparation has revealed new information on the cranium and
the vertebral column of the type and only specimen of Xinpusaurus kohi
JIANG et al., 2004, a thalattosaur from the Upper Triassic Xiaowa
Formation of Guanling County (Guizhou, south-western China). The new
data allow to supplement existing descriptions and to decide on some
controversial points raised in recent discussions. Although the
skeleton is almost complete, there is some reconstruction, which makes
the low presacral vertebral number and the narrow proximal end of the
femur, originally regarded as diagnostic characters, doubtful. All
other diagnostic characters of the species are valid. Comparison to
another thalattosaur species from the Xiaowa Formation, Xinpusaurus
bamaolinensis, shows great similarities, but is limited due to its
insufficient description. Hence, it cannot be excluded that X. kohi is
a junior subjective synonym of X. bamaolinensis. However, the recent
claim that X. kohi and X. bamaolinensis are synonyms of X. suni, the
type species of the genus, is not supported by the new data. The
description of X. bamaolinensis leaves many points unclear. Pending a
re-description of that specimen that may allow for a more meaningful
comparison, X. kohi should be allowed to stand.