Hypuronector

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Hypuronector
Temporal range: Late Triassic
Hypuronector.jpg
Artist's restoration showing possible arboreal behavior
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Protorosauria
Genus: Hypuronector
Colbert & Olsen, 2001
Species: Hypuronector limnaios
Colbert & Olsen, 2001

Hypuronector is a genus of extinct reptile from the Triassic Period that lived in what is now New Jersey. The etymology of the name translates as "deep-tailed swimmer from the lake." A member of the Simiosauria, Hypuronector is related to the arboreal Megalancosaurus. It was a small animal, estimated to be only 12 cm long in life. So far dozens of specimens of Hypuronector are known, but despite this, scientists have not found any complete skeletons. This makes attempts to reconstruct Hypuronector's body or life-style highly speculative and controversial.

Lifestyle controversy[edit]

Despite their evolutionary relationship, it has been suggested by some scientists that Hypuronector may have had a different ecological niche than other Simiosaurs. It has long been accepted that Megalancosaurus was an arboreal chameleon-like animal. However, Hypuronector has been suggested to be aquatic due to its deep, paddle-like tail and the fact that its remains were found in an ancient lake bottom.

The only current remains of Hypuronector are too scanty to reach a certain conclusion about the lifestyle practiced by members of the genus. The discovery of the animal's hands and feet might demonstrate adaptations present in its relatives for an arboreal lifestyle, which would help settle the debate. Unfortunately, paleontologists have no remains from Hypuronector's head, neck, feet or hands and thus must await future discoveries.

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