Article: The first specimen of the Middle Triassic Phalarodon atavus (Ichthyosauria: Mixosauridae) from South China, showing postcranial anatomy and peri-Tethyan distribution
Phalarodon atavus from the Germanic Muschelkalk Basin was previously represented only by cranial elements. Here we report a nearly complete and articulated specimen of P. atavus from the Middle Triassic Luoping Biota, Yunnan, South China. This is the first specimen ofP. atavus from outside the Germanic Basin. This discovery demonstrates a peri-Tethyan distribution of P. atavus. The new specimen is also the first one preserving the postcranial anatomy of this species, providing the opportunity to evaluate its sustained swimming ability. Inferences made on its functional morphology suggest that this species was probably adapted for active foraging. Tooth crown morphology suggests that P. atavus may have preferred externally soft prey.