STL Science Center

STL Science Center

12 July 2019

Week of Moving

When Keichousaurus came across my screen the first time I thought it was an impressive appearing nothosaur but that it had a funny little head. Then I realized everything about this aquatic reptile was small, and a little funny. Its rudimentary flippers still appear to be mostly pes and manus, rather than true flippers, and its elongate neck with a short faced head is almost somewhat comical. Most of these fossils are found as entirely complete animals. Their intriguing morphology and the completeness with which they are often found, as well as the fact that specimens are not much longer than 2.7m (and many smaller specimens are known), Keichousaurus fossils are highly sought after as attainable collector's pieces. Though their abundance makes this possible, it does not necessarily make it acceptable. The variation of known fossils is, as with any animal group, appreciable. The morphological variation that has been lost due to the sale, or simply retention by finders, of these fossils to collectors hurts population studies as well as our knowledge of the evolution of aquatic reptiles overall. However, we do know a lot about Keichousaurus, as this WizScience video shares:

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