Abstract

A thalattosaur taxon, Concavispina biseridens, was recently named and briefly described. It is described here in detail and compared with other thalattosaurs, especially Xinpusaurus. Concavispina is characterized by a long skull, measuring approximately half the length of presacral portion of the vertebral column, two rows of blunt teeth on the anterior part of the maxilla, and neural spines that have convex anterior or posterior margins and V-shaped notches in their dorsal margins. Concavispina differs from all thalattosaurs except Xinpusaurus in that the anterior end of the maxilla is curved dorsally, less than five cervical vertebrae are present, and the proximal end of the humerus is wider than the distal end. Phylogenetic analysis of 40 characters suggests that Miodentosaurus occupies a basal position within Askeptosauridea, Paralonectes is the basalmost member of Thalattosauridea, Concavispina may form a clade with Xinpusaurus, and Chinese thalattosaurs do not have a close relationship with eastern Pacific forms as suggested by previous studies. Concavispina may have been similar to Xinpusaurus in overall locomotor style, but probably had a poorer swimming ability. Concavispina likely differed from Xinpusaurus in diet, for example by depending on softer food.

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