This Triassic mutant swimming
turtle ichthyosaur is totally tubular, yo!
Remember in Early February when the nightmare-flamingo-jawed sauropterygian Atopodentatus was discovered? The possible basal ichthyopterygian Parahupehsuchus longus, described yesterday in PLoS One by Chen Xiao-Hong, Ryosuke Montani, Cheng Long, Jiang Da-Yong, and Olivier Rieppel, is almost as weird, bringing the number of what-the-heck Triassic aquatic reptiles up to at least three once you include Tanystropheus. Parahupesuchus and its relatives already show the beginnings of the specializations that ichthyosaurs took to extremes for aquatic life, as well as being some of the very few species to have more than five fingers normally. This species, however, has an additional feature: it has overlapping, armor-plated ribs that make it resemble a reptilian submarine. No other reptile, except for turtles, have ribs like this, and nothing else has such a bizarre body shape.
Sadly, this looks like it could become one of those David Peters taxa—you know, obscure basal reptiles that have his…”creative” interpretation and a sentence-long Wikipedia article as the only results.