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Sci Rep. 2014 Nov 27;4:7142. doi: 10.1038/srep07142.

A gigantic nothosaur (Reptilia: Sauropterygia) from the Middle Triassic of SW China and its implication for the Triassic biotic recovery.

Author information

1
1] Chengdu Center, China Geological Survey, Chengdu 610081, China [2] School of Resources and Environmental Engineering, Hefei University of Technology, Hefei 230009, China [3] State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, CAS, Nanjing 210008, China.
2
Chengdu Center, China Geological Survey, Chengdu 610081, China.
3
Center of Integrative Research, The Field Museum, Chicago, IL 60605-2496, USA.
4
Department of Geology and Geological Museum, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China.
5
School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, BS8 1RJ, UK.
6
Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC 20013, USA.
7
School of Geosciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.

Abstract

The presence of gigantic apex predators in the eastern Panthalassic and western Tethyan oceans suggests that complex ecosystems in the sea had become re-established in these regions at least by the early Middle Triassic, after the Permian-Triassic mass extinction (PTME). However, it is not clear whether oceanic ecosystem recovery from the PTME was globally synchronous because of the apparent lack of such predators in the eastern Tethyan/western Panthalassic region prior to the Late Triassic. Here we report a gigantic nothosaur from the lower Middle Triassic of Luoping in southwest China (eastern Tethyan ocean), which possesses the largest known lower jaw among Triassic sauropterygians. Phylogenetic analysis suggests parallel evolution of gigantism in Triassic sauropterygians. Discovery of this gigantic apex predator, together with associated diverse marine reptiles and the complex food web, indicates global recovery of shallow marine ecosystems from PTME by the early Middle Triassic.

PMID:
25429609
PMCID:
PMC4245812
DOI:
10.1038/srep07142
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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