Meet Pectodens zhenyuensis, the latest Middle Triassic fossil of southern China to be described.

The remarkable Middle Triassic fossils of southern China are providing a completely new perspective on the reptiles that lived in and around the ancient Sea of Tethys approximately 250-230 million years ago. The bizarre long-necked Dinocephalosaurus and Atopodentatus, with its curious hammer-shaped snout, are just two of the extraordinary reptiles that have been unearthed in recent years.

The most recent discovery is Pectodens zhenyuensis which was described by scientists from IVPP (the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology, Beijing), the Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago), Zhejiang Museum of Natural History (Hangzhou), the Geological Survey of Guizhou, and National Museums Scotland in the latest issue of the Journal of Paleontology. The genus Pectodens is named for its comb-like array of needle-like teeth lining the jaws. This little reptile (about 30 cm long including the tail) is thought to have inhabited the shoreline of the Tethys Sea.

The sole specimen of Pectodens zhenyuensis, IVPP V18578.

Above: The sole specimen of Pectodens zhenyuensis, IVPP V18578.

Life restoration of Pectodens zhenyuensis by Yu Wang.

Above: Life restoration of Pectodens zhenyuensis by Yu Wang.

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