Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to sauropterygian: nothosaur, Sphenodontidae, Placodonts


Any of various extinct aquatic reptiles of the group Sauropterygia that flourished during the Mesozoic Era and included the plesiosaurs.

[From New Latin Sauropterygia, superorder name : Greek sauros, lizard + Greek pterux, pterug-, wing, flipper; see pet- in Indo-European roots.]

saur·op′ter·yg′i·an adj.


any carnivorous Mesozoic marine reptile of the group Sauropterygia, with paddle-like limbs
of or relating to reptiles of the Sauropterygia
References in periodicals archive ?
The study of most of these fragmentary sauropterygian remains only provided a poorly-detailed systematic determination, allowing the identification of indeterminate pachypleurosaurs, nothosauroids and pistosauroids, as well as cyamodontoid and no cyamodontoid placodonts.
A new finding corresponding to material of a Spanish sauropterygian individual is described here.
Just as important is the 'debut' of top predators - such as the long-snouted bony fish Saurichthys, the ichthyosaur Mixosaurus, the sauropterygian Nothosaurus and the prolacertiform Dinocephalosaurus - that fed on fishes and small predatory reptiles.
Although the phylogenetic position of choristoderes within Diapsida has yet to be resolved, all of the proposed positions (stem-neodiapsid, basal archosauromorph, sauropterygian relative etc) would predict an origin in the Late Permian or earliest Triassic.
The team from the Wits University in South Africa studied fossils of reptiles called sauropterygians from millions of years ago and found several similarities to current day aquatic animals with regards to their inner ears.
Having drawn this link in three lineages of extinct marine reptiles - mosasaurs, sauropterygians, and ichthyosaurs - the scientists said that genetic, or chromosomal, sex determination may have played a surprisingly strong role in adaptive radiations and the colonization of the world's oceans by a diverse array of species.