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Taxonomy and Limb Ontogeny of Chaohusaurus geishanensis (Ichthyosauria), with a Note on the Allometric Equation

Ryosuke Motani and Hailu You
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology
Vol. 18, No. 3 (Sep. 15, 1998), pp. 533-540
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4523924
Page Count: 8
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Taxonomy and Limb Ontogeny of Chaohusaurus geishanensis (Ichthyosauria), with a Note on the Allometric Equation
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Abstract

Three of the six earliest ichthyosaurs, namely, Chaohusaurus geishanensis, Chensaurus chaoxianensis, and Chensaurus faciles, occur in the Lower Triassic (Spathian) of the Chaohu area, Anhui Province, China. A reexamination of the three holotypes and two referred specimens indicates that the three species share derived features; however, the characters originally used to distinguish among the three are either growth-related or absent. Measurements of the specimens suggest that they represent a growth series of a single species, Chaohusaurus geishanensis Young and Dong 1972. The forefin of this species shows a strongly positive allometry, leading to the unusually large forefin in the largest specimen (the holotype). The use of the standard allometric equation may be problematic when two structures compared start their developments asynchronically. However, the alternative equation of Schmalhausen is also problematic, and therefore more scrutiny is required. The lunate fin elements, which commonly occur in the first and fifth digits of Early Triassic ichthyosaurs, first become ossified as biconcave elements, as in other metacarpals and phalanges.

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