Skeleton Keichousaurus

Name Skeleton Keichousaurus
Scientific Name Keichousaurus Hui
Category Fossils
Origion GuiZhou Province, China


Historic Background of Keichousaurus

The first Keichousaurus or Guizhousaurus were discovered in Keichow or now known as GuiZhou Province, China in the late 1950s. It was an early Triassic amphibious reptile that lived in a beach-like environment roughly 242 million years ago. It was a member of the Pachypleurisauridae and were related to their contemporaries the Nothosaurs (at one point it were believed to be Nothosauridae). The Pachypleurosaurs were probably evolved in China, and slowly made their way to Europe via the northern border of the Tethys Sea. None of the later European members of the family had the massive limb bones such as the ones with Keichousaurs.

It is easily identified by small body size, long agile neck, triangular skull with one single row of teeth, and massive ulna (outermost bone of the foreleg/forearm). The eye sockets were rather large and circular. It is about six inches long and no longer than one foot from the tip of head to its tail. The vertebral column consists of a neck section (22 vertebra), back section (19 vertebra) and a tail section (37 vertebra). It had four legs with fin shaped semi-flattened hands with five-toed feet and long digits. Its strong limps and powerful hips and shoulders in combination of webbed feet allowed it to transit smoothly between land and water. It probably used its tail for propulsion and legs to paddle. Its diet consisted mostly of small fish and crustacean.


Image © Gareth Monger at paleoart.co.uk


Collecting Keichosaurus Fossils

Unfortunately, there is a general misconception that because of its name Keichousaurus, many people automatically assumed it is a dinosaur. As a matter of fact, many of the dealers, both the US and foreign, will tell you that you are buying a dinosaur fossil.

Asides from the tremendous amount of fake Keichousaurus fossils flooded the market, many ignore sellers actually believe that they were selling genuine fossils. Buying from a reputable seller really helps if you are not sure what to look for. These fossils are not cheap; therefore, it is up to the buyers to arm themselves with knowledge before investing in a specimen.

The following site gives really good guidelines to identify fake fossils.
http://www.taiwanfm.com.tw/fake/fakep1.htm
http://www.lowellcarhart.net/ebay/k-fake.html

Physical Description:

The slab is cut into a manner resembles a rectangle. It is about 11.8 X 7.4 inches, though the length varies along four sides. The specimen is about 10.375 if you consider to stretch its curved neck. The four limbs are visible along with their long digits. The detail of its head is a bit of vague, but the bone structure of its body is very intricate. The whole thing weights about 3 lbs and 10.9 oz.