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TSoSC#4 = Lariosaurus goes for a stroll by Gogosardina TSoSC#4 = Lariosaurus goes for a stroll by Gogosardina
Triassic Seas of South China #4 = Lariosaurus goes for a stroll

Acrylics, digital and photography, 2014

created for = Qiyue Zhang, Wen Wen, Shixue Hu, Michael J. Benton, Changyong Zhou, Tao Xie, Tao Lü, Jinyuan Huang, Brian Choo, Zhong-Qiang Chen, Jun Liu & Qican Zhang (2014) Nothosaur foraging tracks from the Middle Triassic of southwestern China, Nature Communications 5, Article number: 3973 doi:10.1038/ncomms4973  

ca. 245,000,000 bp, Middle Triassic (Anisian), Luoping County, Yunnan, China (Member II of the Guanling Formation)

A small nothosaur (Lariosaurus cf.hongguoenis) forages on a shallow seabed in search of lobsters and small fishes. It propels itself along with rowing motions of it's paddle-like forelimbs, leaving behind distinctive prints on the sediment (ichnotaxon Dikoposichnus luopingensis).

The Luoping Biota of Yunnan (gogosardina.deviantart.com/art…) is already well known for its outstanding body fossils of a Triassic marine community. However, when Qi-yue Zhang, of the Chengdu Center of the China Geological Survey, was mapping geological features near the village of Daaozi, he noticed several track marks on a ledge. The team dug up the area on the ledge and exposed 350 exquisitely preserved prints that formed about 15 different trackways. Each print is a narrow V-shaped slot-like depression with a mound of sediment behind it.

The spacing and contours of these tracks perfectly match the fore-paddles of nothosaurs. They're too big to be made by pachypleurosaurs, lack the distinct clawed-digits of placodonts, saurosphargids and thalattosaurs, while are outside the range of motion possible for ichthyosaurs.

The trackways fall into small (35-42cm outer width) and large (50-67cm) size classes. Complete body fossils of two species of nothosaurs, the small 80cm Lariosaurus hongguoensis and the much bigger (2-4m) Nothosaurus yangjuanensis, are known from the slightly younger Panxian locality, both of which are likely creators of these prints.

The trackways provide the first direct evidence of sauropterygian swimming behaviour. The nothosaurs moved along the seafloor by punting their forelimbs in unison rather than with an alternate back-and-forth motion. This may have implications with reconstructing how other sauropterygians (ie. plesiosaurs) swam.
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:iconvasix:
vasix Featured By Owner Edited Sep 16, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I still have so many questions concerning these faunas, they're so fascinating ugh...anyway I looked up the Nothosaurus zhangi paper just now, and the paper anyway states that Panxian is equivalent in time to the fauna with N.zhangi...would that also be younger than the first TSoSC animals? The paper mentions Phalarodon atavus as a contemporary...Dinocephalosaurus and Atopodentatus too, as well as a mixosaur like Mixosaurus panxianenensis. Just wanted a little bit of clarification on the dates and...whatnot. :) 
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:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Edited Sep 19, 2017  Professional Traditional Artist
Both the Panxian biota in Guizhou and the Luoping biota in Yunnan are in the Guanling Formation in sediments that are dated to the Anisian (Pelsonian) on the basis of conodonts and radiometric dating. Of the two, the Luoping is slightly older than the Panxian. There is comparatively little overlap between the 2 faunas so they probably represent a quite different suite of habitats. 

The Guanling Fm is divided into 2 members = The lower one is 333 m thick, and consists of calcareous silty mudstone and mudstone intercalated with muddy dolomite (= transition from restricted-evaporitic tidal flat to shallow marine facies.)  The second member, which is the one with all the cool articulated fossils, is a 580 m thick succession of limestone, in some places with bands of dolomite. 

Luoping occurs in the middle part of Member 2. Panxian occurs in the top section of Member 2, just below the border with the overlying Yangliujing Formation.
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:iconvasix:
vasix Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the information...also, I saw here: www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1080… that S.sikanniensis might be a Shonisaurus species rather than a Shastasaurus...might it really be possible? 
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:iconaetartaktorosyan:
aetArtakTorosyan Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2017   Traditional Artist
  Simply great !
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:iconmoominded:
MooMinded Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2016
When I first saw this, I honestly thought this was a photograph... the level of detail here is just superb. Amazing work! 
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:iconmanuelsaurus:
Manuelsaurus Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Fantastic work , so look very realistic
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:iconkoganeii:
koganeii Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2014  Student General Artist
You sure this is not a photo? WOW
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:iconjustisaurus:
Justisaurus Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Holy crap! omfg That looks so incredibly realistic it looks like you actually went back in time to the Triassic period's ocean and took a photograph of a strolling underwater Lariosaurus! Excellent job, this is easily one of the most lifelike pieces of paleoart I've ever seen :D
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:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks, illustrations for scientific papers like this one come under extra scrutiny so I made an extra effort.
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:iconjustisaurus:
Justisaurus Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Well it certainly paid off! Great job! :)
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:icondinodanthetrainman:
dinodanthetrainman Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
It looks like a photo! :)
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:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Yeah, its composed like a dive photo (illuminated by a flashbulb from the viewer's camera)
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:iconshellz-art:
shellz-art Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Unbelievably amazing.
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:iconmoonymina:
MoonyMina Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
beautiful!
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:iconaspidel:
aspidel Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Quite an unusual behaviour to say the least. And perfectly rendered. It almost looks like a photo! +fav
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:iconorionide5:
Orionide5 Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014
It's like a reptile penguin!
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:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Or a penguin is like an avian nothosaur!
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:iconorionide5:
Orionide5 Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2014
@•@
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:iconpilsator:
pilsator Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Congrats on the paper, and Lariosaurus has always been awesome.
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:icondontknowwhattodraw94:
Dontknowwhattodraw94 Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Never heard of this seareptile before, but nice work: it looks very realistic :)
Also, that's an amazing discovery those swimming prints. It's weird how such tracks can fossilize. 
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:iconalexsone:
AlexSone Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great work! Looks like alive!
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:iconscaledone:
ScaledOne Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Amazing work ! Thought it was some kind of prehistoric monitor at the first glance. I never realised how much some nothosaurs were probably very monitor like in appearance ! =)
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:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Yep - used varanid colour patterns as an inspiration. Tired of seeing nothosaurs depicted as plain grey.
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:iconscaledone:
ScaledOne Featured By Owner Edited Jun 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Sure, many were shore wanderers anyway so they probably did not need a typical marine animal pattern. I wanted to ask you, do you have a direct link to the publication relative to the behavior evidences please ? edit : nevermind, I have just noticed the title in the description of your deviation, so i have found it^^
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:iconpeteridish:
PeteriDish Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
i am always completely blown away by the outstanding quallity of your illustrations! absolutely fantastic work here!
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:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks, I have to make an extra effort when I'm a co-author.
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:iconpeteridish:
PeteriDish Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I see!
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:iconherofan135:
herofan135 Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Really cool artwork, such a cool discovery!
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:iconhyrotrioskjan:
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014  Professional General Artist
A interesting discovery as well as wonderful artwork :thumbsup:
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:iconcarlosdino:
Carlosdino Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014
Great pic! I really want to read it! Congrats!
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:iconvenom-v13:
Venom-V13 Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014
Awesome!
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:iconzopteryx:
ZoPteryx Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Fascinating discovery and great art!
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:iconpristichampsus:
Pristichampsus Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014  Professional General Artist
I used to think Lariosaurus having fore-flippers and hind-feet was just conjecture, but if you support it, as it appears in this drawing, I'm sure the evidence is sound.
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:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
There is no evidence of free digits in the prints, so whatever made them had their fingers enclosed in tissue. 
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:iconpristichampsus:
Pristichampsus Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014  Professional General Artist
Well, I suppose that supports Lariosaurus having fore-flippers even more, or at least some sort of nothosaur. I know that Lariosaurus has been drawn having flipper hands and lizard feet for a long time, when I first saw an illustration of it as a kid, I was so excited to see such an odd combination of limbs and flippers. I can only assume that whoever suggested the hands were flippers, and not just webbed, must have gotten it right from good anatomical knowledge, and now we have even more support.
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:iconpeteridish:
PeteriDish Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
well, technically, penguins also have feet and fore-flippers. :)
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:iconpristichampsus:
Pristichampsus Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014  Professional General Artist
well, yes.
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Details

Submitted on
June 11, 2014
Image Size
3.3 MB
Resolution
3760×1848
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Camera Data

Make
Canon
Model
Canon PowerShot S50
Shutter Speed
1/807 second
Aperture
F/2.8
Focal Length
7 mm
Date Taken
Jan 3, 2008, 12:34:43 PM
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Adobe Photoshop CS4 Windows
Sensor Size
10mm
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