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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Cladus: Sarcopterygii
Cladus: Rhipidistia
Cladus: Tetrapodomorpha
Cladus: Eotetrapodiformes
Cladus: Elpistostegalia
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha

Familia: †Tanystropheidae
Genera: †Amotosaurus – †Augustaburiania – †Cosesaurus – †Dinocephalosaurus – †Fuyuansaurus – †Gwyneddosaurus – †Langobardisaurus – †Macrocnemus – †Pectodens – †Protanystropheus – †Raibliania – †Sclerostropheus – †Tanystropheus – †Tanytrachelos

†Tanystropheidae Gervais, 1858: 234

Type genus: †Tanystropheus von Meyer, 1855

Primary references

Gervais, P. 1858. Description de l’Aphelosaurus latevensis, saurien fossile des schistes Permiens de Lodeve. Annales des Sciences naturelles. 4ème Série. Zoologie 10(4): 233–235. BHL

Additional references

Sennikov, A.G. 2011. New tanystropheids (Reptilia: Archosauromorpha) from the Triassic of Europe. Paleontological Journal 45(1): 90–104. DOI: 10.1134/S0031030111010151 Paywall Reference page.

Tanystropheidae is an extinct family of mostly marine archosauromorph reptiles that lived throughout the Triassic Period. They are characterized by their long, stiff necks formed from elongated cervical vertebrae with very long cervical ribs. Some tanystropheids such as Tanystropheus had necks that were several meters long, longer than the rest of their bodies.

Tanystropheids are known from Europe, Asia (Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia), North America[2] and probably South America (Brazil).[3] The presence of tanystropheids in Europe and China indicate that they lived along much of the coastline of the Tethys Ocean.[4] However, species in western North America are found in terrestrial deposits, suggesting that as a group, tanystropheids were ecologically diverse.[2]

Relationships among tanystropheid species have been difficult to resolve because most specimens were flattened during fossilization and are preserved two-dimensionally. Three-dimensional fossils are known from Europe and North America.[2]

In 2021, a phylogenetic study was conducted by S. Spiekman, N. Fraser, and T. Schayer in an attempt to clarify the systematics of "protorosaur" groups. A total of 16 individual trees were found using different character scoring methods and unstable OTU exclusions. The results of analysis 3A, with ratio and ordered characters treated as such and pruning 5 out of 40 OTUs a posteriori to offer maximum resolution/minimum polytomies, are shown:[5]






Sharovipterygidae (Ozimek volans)







Macrocnemus bassanii

Macrocnemus fuyuanensis






Tanystropheus hydroides

GMPKU P 1527 T. cf. hydroides

Tanystropheus longobardicus






List of genera

†Gwyneddosaurus (possible chimera of Tanytrachelos and a coelacanth; thus Gwyneddosaurus is a possible senior synonym of Tanytrachelos)[6][7]


Pritchard, Adam C; et al. (2015). "Late Triassic tanystropheids (Reptilia, Archosauromorpha) from northern New Mexico (Petrified Forest Member, Chinle Formation) and the biogeography, functional morphology, and evolution of Tanystropheidae". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 35 (2). doi:10.1080/02724634.2014.911186.
Tiane Macedo De Oliveira; Daniel Oliveira; Cesar L. Schultz; Leonardo Kerber; Felipe L. Pinheiro (2018). "Tanystropheid archosauromorphs in the Lower Triassic of Gondwana". Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 63 (4): 713–723. doi:10.4202/app.00489.2018.
Rieppel, O.; Jiang, D. Y.; Fraser, N. C.; Hao, W. C.; Motani, R.; Sun, Y. L.; Sun, Z. Y. (2010). "Tanystropheus cf. T. Longobardicus from the early Late Triassic of Guizhou Province, southwestern China". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 30 (4): 1082. doi:10.1080/02724634.2010.483548.
Spiekman, S. N. F.; Fraser, N. C.; Scheyer, T. M. (2021). "A new phylogenetic hypothesis of Tanystropheidae (Diapsida, Archosauromorpha) and other "protorosaurs", and its implications for the early evolution of stem archosaurs". PeerJ. 9: e11143. doi:10.7717/peerj.11143. PMC 8101476. PMID 33986981.
Olsen, P. E.; Flynn, J. (1989). "Field guide to the vertebrate paleontology of Late Triassic rocks in the southwestern Newark Basin (Newark Supergroup, New Jersey and Pennsylvania)". The Mosasaur. 4: 1–35.
Olsen, P. E.; Baird, D. (1986). "The ichnogenus Atreipus and its significance for Triassic biostratigraphy". In Padian, K. (ed.). In The Beginning of the Age of Dinosaurs: Faunal Change across the Triassic-Jurassic Boundary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 61–87. ISBN 0-521-36779-4.
Adam C. Pritchard; Hans-Dieter Sues (2019). "Postcranial remains of Teraterpeton hrynewichorum (Reptilia: Archosauromorpha) and the mosaic evolution of the saurian postcranial skeleton". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. 17 (20): 1745–1765. doi:10.1080/14772019.2018.1551249.

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