Hescheleria

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Hescheleria
Temporal range: Middle Triassic
HESCHELERIA.jpg
Recontruction of the head of Hescheleria
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Thalattosauria
Family: Thalattosauridae
Clade: Claraziidae
Genus: Hescheleria
Peyer, 1936
Type species
Hescheleria rubeli
Peyer, 1936b

Hescheleria is an extinct genus of thalattosaurian marine reptile from the Middle Triassic (247.2 to ~235 Ma) of Monte San Giorgio in Switzerland. It is represented by a single type species, H. rubeli, which was named in 1936.[1]

Description[edit]

Like other thalattosaurs, Hescheleria has a slender lizard-like body with a long paddle-shaped tail. It is estimated to have grown to approximately 1 meter in length.

The skull possesses an unusually-shaped snout, with sharply downturned premaxillae. This forms a toothy hook at almost a right angle to the rest of the jaw, with a large diastema. The mandible is considerably robust and is dotted with small sharp teeth, along with a pair of pointed conical projections towards the tip, the function of which is unknown.[2] The strange skull suggests a highly specialized lifestyle. It has been speculated[1] that the projections on the mandible were used to crush hard-shelled prey such as molluscs. Other paleontologists disagree with this hypothesis,[2] arguing that the projections do not occlude against any other potential crushing surface in the jaws, instead making contact with the rostral diastema.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Peyer, B. (1936b). "Die Triasfauna der Tessiner Kalkalpen. XI. Hescheleria ruebeli nov. gen. nov. sp". Schweizerische Paläontologische Abhandlungen. 58: 1–48.
  2. ^ a b Rieppel, O.; Müller, J.; Liu, J. (2005). "Rostral structure in Thalattosauria (Reptilia, Diapsida)". Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences. 42: 2081–2086. doi:10.1139/e05-076.