Abstract

A small, nearly complete ichthyosaur skeleton is described from the Upper Triassic of Williston Lake, in northeastern British Columbia. The age of the material, based on conodonts, is early Norian. Although the length of the entire skeleton would probably not have exceeded 1 m, there is no evidence of immaturity–quite the contrary. Named Hudsonelpidia brevirostris, the new taxon shares some features with Triassic taxa, as exemplified by Mixosaurus from the European Middle Triassic, and with post-Triassic ichthyosaurs like Ichthyosaurus, from the English Lower Jurassic. Mixosaurian characters include an elongate tibia with emarginated pre- and postaxial margins, and phalanges in the hindfin with pre- and postaxial notches. Like Ichthyosaurus, the humérus is elongate rather than broad, so too is the pubis and ischium. Mixosaurus is unusual among Triassic ichthyosaurs for having a relatively large orbit, but the orbit is even more prominent in Hudsonelpidia, probably because of the shortness of the snout. Hudsonelpidia has an unusually large femur that approaches the length of the humérus, dwarfing the rest of the hindfin. The rostrum is unique in being perforated by foramina, but this could possibly be an abnormality.

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