is an Hupehsuchia order of enigmatic diapsid marine reptiles belonging to the class Sauropsida. The order was short-lasting, with a temporal range restricted to the Spathian age of the late Olenekian, spanning only a few million years of the Early Triassic. The order gets its name from Hubei Province, China, from which many specimens have been found. Of the entire order, Nanchangosauridae is the only recognized family. Hupehsuchians display an unusual combination of characteristics with other derived marine reptiles, including mosasaurs and ichthyosaurs, including polydactyly, narrow skull, and vivipary. The order consists of two genera, and Hupehsuchus , of which, the former is the Nanchangosaurus type genus. Determining the exact classification and phylogeny of this group remains difficult, and may be attributed to the limited knowledge of the fossil record of diapsid reptiles in the Late Permian and Early Triassic, as well as the great amount of convergence exhibited by secondarily aquatic reptiles.
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is an American Paul Sereno paleontologist who is the discoverer of several new dinosaur species on several continents. He has conducted excavations at sites as varied as Inner Mongolia, Argentina, Morocco and Niger. He is a professor at the University of Chicago and a National Geographic "explorer-in-residence." Sereno's most widely publicized discovery is that of a nearly complete specimen of (popularly known as SuperCroc) at Gadoufaoua in the Tenere desert of Niger. Other major discoveries include Sarcosuchus imperator - the oldest known dinosaur fossil, Eoraptor , the first good skull of Jobaria , Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis , Afrovenator and the African Suchomimus pterosaur.
The science of fossil shells is the first step towards the study of the earth."
—Giovanni Battista Brocchi Conchiologia Fossile Subappennina ( 1814), Vol. I, trans. Ezio Vaccari, 13.
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