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June 13, 2013
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Canon
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Canon PowerShot S50
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Jan 3, 2008, 12:01:38 PM
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TSoSC #2: Keichousaur-killer of Xingyi by Gogosardina TSoSC #2: Keichousaur-killer of Xingyi by Gogosardina
Triassic Seas of South China #2: Keichousaur-killer of Xingyi

Acrylics, digital and photography, 2013

2nd in a series for the following review paper =
Michael J. Benton, Qiyue Zhang, Shixue Hu, Zhong-Qiang Chen, Wen Wen, Jun Liu, Jinyuang Huang, Changyong Zhou, Tao Xie, Jinnan Tong & Brian Choo (accepted manuscript), Exceptional vertebrate biotas from the Triassic of China, and the expansion of marine ecosystems after the Permo-Triassic mass extinction, Earth Science Review. [link]

ca. 235,000,000 bp, uppermost Middle Triassic (late Ladinian), Xingyi County, Guizhou, China (Zhuganpo Formation).

A coastal reef at the very end of the Middle Triassic. We're close to the shores of a large island, over 100 km off the South Chinese mainland. Sleek and deadly, a nothosaur snacks on it's abundant smaller relatives, the keichousaurs, ducking beneath the incredible neck of Tanystropheus to do so. Other reef denizens flee in terror while ammonoids and wing-finned Potanichthys hover unconcerned in the surface waters.

MARINE REPTILES
Nothosaurus youngi - (big yellowish foreground predator) 2.1m long. Nothosaurs were the most badass predators of the Triassic seas. N. youngi was one of the smaller members of it's genus but still formidably armed with wicked-looking teeth.

Keichousaurus hui - (numerous small reptiles in foreground) Under 30cm. by far the most abundant tetrapod in the Xingyi biota, known from hundreds, if not thousands, of specimens ranging from embryoes to adults.

Yunguisaurus liae - (pair of long-necked swimmers in background) Up to 4.5m long. the Middle Triassic sauropterygians most completely adapted for aquatic life were pistosaurs like Yunguisaurus. Their long-necked, paddle-limbed body configuration was a winning formula that was taken to extremes by their plesiosaur descendants later in the Mesozoic.

Tanystropheus cf.longobardicus - (huge long-necked reptile stretching into foreground) 6m long, over half of which is neck. Remains of this preposterously long-necked protorosaur from Xingyi include an almost complete skeleton that is effectively indistinguishable from T. longobardicus from Italy and Switzerland - unfortunately the head is missing on the Chinese specimen so we can't be totally sure. A predator of cephalopods and small fish (based on gut contents of European specimens), the body of Tany shows no obvious adaptations for marine life. However it's pan-Tethyan distribution and presence at Xingyi, 100s of kms from the nearest continental landmass, suggest considerable maritime capabilities.

Anshunsaurus wushaensis - (serpentine reptile in background) 2.5m long thalattosaur with a small ichthyosaur-like head. At this time thalattosaurs were rare in the region and not very diverse, however the group was about to come into their own within a few million years.

The apparent absence of ichthyosaurs at Xingyi is puzzling...

FISH
Peltopleurus orientalis - 5cm, numerous small brown fishes.
Guizhoubrachysoma minor - 4cm, short, blue fishes.
Guizhouamia bellula - 15cm, slender fishes with orange stripes. Originally described as the world's oldest bowfin (amiid). It isn't.
Asialepidotus shigyiensis - 20cm, brown fishes with vertical bands. Guizhouella/Guizhoueugnathus analilepida is a synonym.
Potanichthys xingyiensis - 15cm, big-winged fishes near the surface. The most famous of the Xingyi fishes, Potanichthys was one of the first attempts at flight by the Actinopterygii with many convergent similarities in fin shape and body form to modern flying fishes.

INVERTEBRATES
Schimperella acanthocercus - 4cm minus antennae. numerous small shrimps. Yes, I think Japanese crystal red shrimps are cool. Probably the most common fossils at Xingyi.
Protrachyceras sp. - ammonoids.
Traumatocrinus hsui - floating colony of crinoids in the far distance. Rare at Xingyi, as with the thalattosaurs, these huge echinoderms would become far more common within a few million years.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconvasix:
vasix Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
And to which fauna does Atopodentatus belong?
Reply
:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Luoping fauna (Anisian)
Reply
:iconvasix:
vasix Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hmm...earlier than I realized
Reply
:iconzippo4k:
Zippo4k Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2014
I wonder if Tanystrophius's long neck may have helped serve it like a snorkel, to allow it's body to remain submerged on the shallow sea floor where it was foraging. When it needs a breadth, it could just lift it's head on that long neck to the surface for a puff of air, and drop back down to resume. I'm sure there are other reasons such a long neck came about, but it just sort of dawned on me.
Reply
:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2014
Isn't Thalattoarchon the apex predator?
Reply
:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
No ichthyosaurs have been discovered so far in the Xingyi fauna.
Reply
:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Edited Aug 10, 2014
I know but you were saying in the description that nothosaurs, adapted towards small prey, were the most badass predator of the Triassic.
Reply
:iconvigorousnebuladragon:
VigorousNebulaDragon Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2014
I'm speechless...
Reply
:iconivan-ukrainien:
Ivan-Ukrainien Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
wow just wow
Reply
:iconchasmandala:
ChasMandala Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is amazing - such incredible detail; and the accompanying review adds to the intriguing nature of the work. Very nicely done! :clap:
Reply
:iconscaledone:
ScaledOne Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I ordered this as a canva and received it yesterday. This piece is just incredible ! And the details are great as well as the serious paleontological work put into it, so happy with it =)
Reply
:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! Glad you like.
Reply
:iconsparklet-rayne:
Sparklet-Rayne Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Scuba dive here at your own risk.
Reply
:iconmaspix:
MasPix Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Professional Photographer
A Really excellently crafted image !
Reply
:iconsn1985a:
sn1985a Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013
it is great!!!
Reply
:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
thanks!!!
Reply
:iconbatworker:
batworker Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2013
Absolutaly amazing!
Reply
:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Glad you like!
Reply
:iconpristichampsus:
Pristichampsus Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2013  Professional General Artist
Will you upload the final scene in this series? I saw on the DML that the article is available, but I'm leery about buying the article, because of its expense. Unless, of course, buying the article has any positive effect on your pocket, in which case, I would oblige.
Reply
:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Perhaps tomorrow... How big is the paywall around this?
Reply
:iconpristichampsus:
Pristichampsus Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2013  Professional General Artist
Well, they're charging just shy of 40 dollars to purchase the one article :/

I have payed around half that price for kindle books of similar scientific value. I would gladly pay if it went to the pocket of the artist in particular, or I could just buy prints of all 3 on deviant-art, when you manage to upload them.
Reply
:iconelperdido1965:
Elperdido1965 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
fantastic artwork of a fantastic Ecosystem
Reply
:iconalbertonykus:
Albertonykus Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013
Very intimidating Tanystropheus.
Reply
:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Yes, I'm suffering from neck-envy.
Reply
:iconjwartwork:
JWArtwork Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Once again a wonderful work! :) It's cool to see pistosaurs and nothosaurs in one image for the first time, like that combination. :) I am also fond of the thalattosaur in the back. It does indeed have a rather ichthyosaur-like skull, do you think they could possibly be related:?
Reply
:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
What thalattosaurs are related to is anyones' guess - unfortunately we don't have any basal members of the clade in the fossil record.

Note that many thalattosaur genera do not have ichthyosaur-like heads - in fact they seem to have been experimenting with all sorts of head configurations in the M-LTr.
Reply
:iconjwartwork:
JWArtwork Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Maybe something with hupehsuchids, also peculiar creatures, something for you to draw some time, I'd suggest. ;) Or who knows a relationship with placodonts and helveticosaurs... That would kinda bring the Sauropterygia and the Icthyopterygia together, I guess... :iconthinkplz:
Reply
:icondrhoz:
Drhoz Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
breeding ground for Keichousaurus, was it?
Reply
:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Yes. In addition to pregnant moms, we also find isolated aborted foetuses and mass juvie assemblages/creches. These things would have been everywhere - like silver gulls on Cottlesloe.
Reply
:icondrhoz:
Drhoz Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
good lord
Reply
:iconteddyblackbear2040:
TeddyBlackBear2040 Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Great looking picture.
Reply
:iconhyrotrioskjan:
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2013  Professional General Artist
These marine mass scenes are fantastic :clap:
Reply
:iconthemorlock:
TheMorlock Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2013  Student General Artist
Awesome.
Reply
:iconbensen-daniel:
bensen-daniel Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2013
Man I can't get enough of these multispecies underwater scenes! How did keichousaurs breed? Eggs?
And floating colonial crinoids? That is the most awesome thing ever! Seriously, you made my day by telling me those existed.
Reply
:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Keichousaur breeding =
[link]

Floating crinoids =
This, in the Ladinian, is just a prelude. When we cross the border into the Late Triassic (Carnian), things are going to go WTF crazy...
Reply
:iconbensen-daniel:
bensen-daniel Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2013
Floating crinoids are the best things ever
Reply
:iconprimevalraptor:
PrimevalRaptor Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Amazing work, the perspective is great and it looks just like a snapshot of a documentary.
Reply
:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! Thats what i was aiming for.
Reply
:iconvitor-silva:
Vitor-Silva Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2013  Student
Wonderful scene! Very well done!
Reply
:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Glad you like it!
Reply
:iconavancna:
avancna Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I wonder, is Traumatocrinus related to the late Silurian/ early Devonian Scyphocrinites?
Reply
:iconavancna:
avancna Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Or are they more closely related to the "pseudoplanktonic" Seirocrinus and </i>Pentacrinites</i> of the Jurassic?
Reply
:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Scyphocrinites is a camerate (subclass Camerata) - an odd group that didn't make it past Permian and is not closely related to the other two.

Trauma and the Jurassic pentacrinitids are at least both articulates(members of the extant subclass Articulata), but not closely related (in separate orders).

Trauma is an encrinidan (order Encrinida), a cousin of the well known benthic Encrinus that you often see in European museums.

Seirocrinus and Pentacrinites are pentacrinitid isocrinoids, their closest Triassic relative (and probable ancestor) is the benthic Holocrinus.

Thus Scypho, Trauma and the pentacrinitids all independently evolved their pelagic lifestyle.




Reply
:iconavancna:
avancna Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you very much for the informative reply: I should have known that Scyphocrinites wasn't related, given its unique flotation organ.
Reply
:iconforgottendemigod:
ForgottenDemigod Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Awesome.
Reply
:icont-pekc:
T-PEKC Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2013
Nice scene and great portrait of whole ecosystem!
Reply
:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks - these incredible biotas are hardly known outside of China (when compared with the Jehol) so I'm happy to give them some publicity.
Reply
:iconpristichampsus:
Pristichampsus Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2013  Professional General Artist
I'm lovin this series, I think triassic marine reptiles are my favorite kind. Not all big and flashy, but so varied! We have protorosaurs, nothosaurs, simosaurs, pistosaurs, pachypleurosaurs. placodonts, saurosphargids, thalattosaurs, ichthyosaurs, omphalosaurs, Quianosuchus, and some of the first plesiosaurs too! Did I miss any?
Reply
:iconlordofstamps:
LordOfstamps Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2014
Omphalosaurus was reclassified as an Icthyosaur a few years ago. Just wanted to point that out.
Reply
:icongogosardina:
Gogosardina Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks - and you forgot turtles (= Odontochelys)!
Reply
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