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Article: A new specimen of the Triassic pistosauroid Yunguisaurus, with implications for the origin of Plesiosauria (Reptilia, Sauropterygia)

Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 57
Part: 1
Publication Date: January 2014
Page(s): 55 76
Author(s): Tamaki Sato, Li-Jun Zhao, Xiao-Chun Wu and Chun Li
Addition Information

How to Cite

SATO, T., ZHAO, L., WU, X., LI, C. 2014. A new specimen of the Triassic pistosauroid Yunguisaurus, with implications for the origin of Plesiosauria (Reptilia, Sauropterygia). Palaeontology57, 1, 55–76. doi: 10.1111/pala.12048

Author Information

  • Tamaki Sato - Tokyo Gakugei University, Koganei City, Tokyo, Japan (email:
  • Tamaki Sato - Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • Li-Jun Zhao - Zhejiang Museum of Natural History, Hangzhou, China (email:
  • Xiao-Chun Wu - Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, ON, Canada (email:
  • Chun Li - Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China (email:

Publication History

  • Issue published online: 6 JAN 2014
  • Article first published online: 7 MAY 2013
  • Manuscript Accepted: 24 MAR 2013
  • Manuscript Received: 19 MAR 2012

Funded By

KAKENHI. Grant Numbers: 18.6288, 20684023
National Natural Science Foundation of China. Grant Number: 41172027
Tokyo Gakugei University
Canadian Museum of Nature

Online Version Hosted By

Wiley Online Library (Free Access)
Get Article: Wiley Online Library [Free Access]


An adult skeleton of the pistosauroid sauropterygian Yunguisaurus liae reveals a number of morphological features not observed in the holotype, such as the complete morphology of the skull roof, stapes, atlas and axis, ventral view of the postcranium, and nearly complete limbs and tail. Size and morphological differences between the two specimens are mostly regarded as ontogenetic variation, and newly added data did not affect the phylogenetic relationships with other pistosauroids significantly. The number of mesopodia (11 carpals and 8 tarsals) exceeds that known in any other Triassic marine reptiles and does not serve as a precursor of the plesiosaurian pattern with fewer mesopodia of different topology; it demonstrates variability of the limb morphology among the Triassic pistosauroids. The pectoral girdles of Corosaurus, Augustasaurus and Yunguisaurus may indicate early stages of the adaptation towards the plesiosaurian style of paraxial limb movements with ventroposterior power stroke.

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