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Endothermy in champsosaurs?

November 24, 2012

Once again, Champsosaurus by Frederik Spindler. I’m starting to run out of respectable champsosaur pics.

As previously explored, champsosaurs were fully aquatic reptiles, living in areas with ostensibly cold temperatures. Champsosaurus itself was found in Axel Heiberg and Greenland, two areas that, while much warmer when it was alive, were still subjected to long polar nights. It’s Palaeocene range across North America also had a recognisable temperate climate, to the point that the only crocodyllians co-existing with these animals were cold-tolerant alligatoroids.

Likewise, most modern endothermic aquatic sauropsids engage in basking behaviour. Champsosaurs appareantly could not do this; the only known neochoristoderes that could move on land were the females of Champsosaurus laramiensis/ambulator (they are considered synonimous, btw), thus ruling out basking behaviour from most known taxa.

The torso is also noted as being very rotund for the standards of Choristodera, meaning that it probably evolved as means to cope with heat conservation.

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 17, 2015 12:25 pm

    Isn’t more plausible to assume that champsosaurs utilized warmer water areas to heat up, like modern mostly aquatic turtles like snapping turtles? Endothermy has evolved only in pelagic ectotherms that swim continuously and have high energy requirements.

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