Prehistoric marine reptiles were a weird lot, especially in light of their lizard-like ancestors on land. You take something that roughly looks like an iguana, and evolve it into the shape of a dolphin (icthyosaurs), or evolve it into the shape of a turtle (turtles), or stretch out its neck and grow paddles on the limbs (plesiosaurs). That said, as a paleontologist I've grown fairly jaded when it comes to marine reptiles. Most of the major groups have been widely known since the dawn of paleontology, so I read all about them as a kid. I knew the story of Mary Anning and her 19th century quest for fossils, and how long-necked elasmosaurs used to swim over what are now the farms, ranches, and prairies of my home state of South Dakota. So, it's nice to be surprised by a new marine reptile every once in awhile!
Categories: Paleontology; PLOS ONE; Hupehsuchia; marine reptile; Parahupehsuchus; Triassic;