|Specimen of Claudiosaurus germaini, on display at the Redpath Museum, Montreal|
Biology and description
Claudiosaurus was one of the first members of the Neodiapsida, a group of reptiles containing diapsids more derived than the primitive Araeoscelidia. It had a relatively long body and neck, reaching on overall length of about 60 centimetres (2.0 ft). It is presumed to have been partially oceanic, living its life in a way similar to the modern marine iguana. The main reason for this theory is that the skeleton included substantial amounts cartilage, rather than bone, indicating it had trouble supporting its weight on land. In particular, the sternum was poorly developed, which would have made walking difficult out of water. Instead, it probably swam by undulating its body and tail, and holding its legs close to the body to increase streamlining.
A more recent study however indicates that its vertebral column tail and leg proportions are closer to those of terrestrial reptiles, though it is noted that marine iguanas similarly only differ from terrestrial counterparts very subtly.
- Carroll, R. L. (1981). "Plesiosaur ancestors from the upper permian of Madagascar". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B. 293 (1066): 315–383. doi:10.1098/rstb.1981.0079.
- Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 72. ISBN 1-84028-152-9.
- Pablo Nuñez Demarco et al. Was Mesosaurus a Fully Aquatic Reptile? Front. Ecol. Evol, published online July 27, 2018; doi: 10.3389/fevo.2018.00109
- Chun Li; Nicholas C. Fraser; Olivier Rieppel; Xiao-Chun Wu (2018). "A Triassic stem turtle with an edentulous beak". Nature. 560 (7719): 476–479. doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0419-1.
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