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Tetrapod Zoology

Plesiosaurs and the repeated invasion of freshwater habitats: late-surviving relicts or evolutionary novelties?

There are quite a few life restorations of leptocleidids. This shows the Australian taxon Leptocleidus clemai, by John Long. From Cruickshank & Long (1997). I don't think the flippers are depicted well.

Time to talk about another recently published paper I was involved in: this time, the looooong awaited Journal of Systematic Palaeontology paper ‘A new leptocleidid (Sauropterygia, Plesiosauria) from the Vectis Formation (Early Barremian-early Aptian; Early Cretaceous) of the Isle of Wight and the evolution of Leptocleididae, a controversial clade’ (Benson et al. 2012a). Wow, what [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Sauropterygians NEVER FORGET

You’ve heard of plesiosaurs (and probably the short-necked plesiosaurs known vernacularly as pliosaurs). But unless you’re a palaeontologist or zoology uber-nerd, you might well not have heard of placodonts, pachypleurosaurs, nothosauroids and pistosaurids – the other lineages that, together with plesiosaurs, form Sauropterygia, a major clade of Mesozoic marine reptiles. Here’s a much-simplified cladogram showing [...]

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