Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Permian Aquatic Reptiles

Version 1 : Received: 11 July 2019 / Approved: 5 August 2019 / Online: 5 August 2019 (00:35:21 CEST)

How to cite: McMenamin, M. Permian Aquatic Reptiles. Preprints 2019, 2019080033. McMenamin, M. Permian Aquatic Reptiles. Preprints 2019, 2019080033.


Eight amniote genera (representing four clades) became aquatic during the Permian. The four clades were mesosaurids, tangasaurids, the neodiapsid Claudiosaurus, and the procolophonid Barasaurus. Two of eight genera survived the end-Permian mass extinction, but did not last long into the Mesozoic. A previously undescribed specimen of Claudiosaurus germaini, preserved in a lacustrine concretion from the Sakamena Formation, Madagascar, bears seventeen vertebrae that has been split along an approximate horizontal plane to reveal sections of neural canal casted in white calcite. Enlargement of the neural canal in the sacral region of this specimen of Claudiosaurus (vertebral segments 22-26) is more similar to that of Tupinambis (segments 24-28) than it is to Testudo (segments 16-23). Claudiosaurus skeletal anatomy provides evidence for swim propulsion by both hind limbs and by undulation of a dorsal-ventrally flattened tail. Evidence for the latter includes elongate transverse processes on distal tail vertebrae. Other Permian aquatic reptile genera (Mesosaurus, Hovasaurus, Barasaurus) used snake-like side-to-side tail undulation, whereas Claudiosaurus used cetacean-like up-down tail undulation in the vertical plane. It seems unlikely that any of these animals were particularly fast swimmers.


aquatic reptiles; parareptiles; procolophonids; neodiapsids; Permian; Barasaurus; mesosaurs; Hovasaurus; Tangasauridae; Claudiosaurus; neuroanatomy; swim kinematics; neural canal; caudal vertebrae; transverse process


Environmental and Earth Sciences, Paleontology

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