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An extremely rare fossil of a Claudiosaurus (Claudiosaurus germaini)
Madagascar, Morondava Basin, late Permian to early Triassic, approximately 260 million years old

 

H. 82.5 x W. 35 x D. 2.5 cm
 

This rare fossil was found in the Lower Sakamamena Formation in Madagascar, which was deposited in a wetland environment within a North-South-orientated rift valley, perhaps like Lake Tanganyika. The climate at the time of deposition was temperate, warm, and humid, with seasonal rainfall and possible monsoons. It is possible that these dinosaurs were semi-aquatic since the margins of contact in the carpals are poorly defined and therefore retained a lot of cartilage, providing a greater ‘degree of flexibility’ that would be beneficial for swimming. The small size of the skull, the nature of the palate and marginal dentition and the long neck, partially also found in Ardeidae (herons), point towards aquatic feeding habits.