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Temporal range: Mid Triassic
Pistosaurus BW.jpg
Pistosaurus longaevus from the middle Triassic of Europe
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Superorder: Sauropterygia
Family: Pistosauridae
Genus: Pistosaurus

Pistosaurus is a genus of marine sauropterygian reptiles. It is a Nothosaur, a relative of the plesiosaurs.

Pistosaurus was a advanced nothosaur-like body with a plesiosaur-like head. Is presently known only from the Middle Triassic. Even if it is a nothosaur it is acknowledged to be closely related to the ancestors of plesiosaurs.

The head also resembled that of a plesiosaur, but with the primitive palate[1] of a nothosaur, and numerous, sharp teeth ideal for catching and eating fish.[2]

Although it is unlikely that Pistosaurus was a direct ancestor of the plesiosaurs, the mixture of features suggests that it was closely related to that group.[2]

References[change | change source]

  1. bone covering roof of mouth.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall illustrated encyclopedia of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 73. ISBN 1-84028-152-9.