Revisiting the Cranial Anatomy of the Thalattosaur Anshunsaurus huangnihensis

Cheng, L., Chen, X., Zhang, B., and Y. Cai. 2011. New Study of Anshunsaurus huangnihensis Cheng, 2007 (Reptilia: Thalattosauria): Revealing its Transitional Position in Askeptosauridae. Acta Geologica Sinica (English Edition) 85: 1231–1237. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-6724.2011.00584.x

Abstract - The skull of Anshunsaurus huangnihensis Cheng, 2007, especially the skull roof, is described in detail in this paper. Compared to other genera and species of Askeptosauroidea, Anshunsaurus huangnihensis has some important transitional characters from Askeptosaurus italicus to Anshunsaurus huangguoshuensis: the rostral length related to the skull length between Askeptosaurus italicus and Anshunsaurus huangguoshuensis; the postfrontal existing but distinctly reduced; the posterolateral process relatedly short and overlapping the parietal. The phylogenetic analysis weakly supports the evolutional progress from Anshunsaurus huangnihensis to Anshunsaurus huangguoshuensis. The skeletal ratios indicated that the node among the Askeptosauridae ingroup. The evolutional direction of Askeptosauridae should be from Askeptosaurus italicus to Anshunsaurus huangguoshuensis. The skeletal ratios indicated that the evolutional progress is Askeptosaurus italicus -- Anshunsaurus huangnihensis -- Anshunsaurus huangguoshuensis. In biogeography provinces, the Askeptosauroidea taxa from south China have a close relationship with those from western Tethys; however, Xinpusaurus from the Late Triassic is more related to those from the eastern Pacific.

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