Wikipedia Encyclopedia



Hovasaurus is an extinct genus of diapsid reptile belonging to the order Eosuchia. It lived in what is now Madagascar during the Late Permian and Early Triassic, being a survivor of the Permian–Triassic extinction event and the paleontologically youngest member of the Tangasauridae.[1] Fossils have been found in the Permian Lower and Triassic Middle Sakamena Formations of the Sakamena Group, where it is amongst the commonest fossils. Its morphology suggests an aquatic ecology.

Temporal range:
Life restoration of Hovasaurus boulei
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Family: Tangasauridae
Genus: Hovasaurus
Piveteau, 1926
Type species
Hovasaurus boulei
Piveteau, 1926


Specimen with gastroliths

Hovasaurus resembled a slender lizard, and was around 50 centimetres (20 in) long, of which two thirds was taken up by its long tail. It was well adapted to an aquatic life, with the tail being laterally flattened like that of a sea snake. Some stones have been found in the abdomen of fossil Hovasaurus, indicating the creatures swallowed these for ballast, preventing them from floating to the surface when hunting fish.[2]


The Lower Sakamamena Formation was deposited in a wetland environment situated within a North-South orientated rift valley, perhaps similar to Lake Tanganyika. The climate at the time of deposition was temperate, warm, and humid, with seasonal rainfall and possible monsoons[3] Flora from the formation includes the equisetalean Schizoneura, Glossopteris, and seed fern Lepidopteris. Other vertebrates known from the Lower Sakamena Formation include the palaeoniscoid fish Atherstonia, the procolophonid parareptile Barasaurus, the gliding weigeltisaurid reptile Coelurosauravus, neodiapsids Claudiosaurus, Thadeosaurus, and Acerodontosaurus, fragments of rhinesuchid temnospondyls, an indeteriminate theriodont therapsid and the dicynodont Oudenodon.[4]


  1. Ketchum, H. F.; Barrett, P. M. (2004). "New reptile material from the Lower Triassic of Madagascar: implications for the Permian–Triassic extinction event". Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences. 44 (1): 1–8. Bibcode:2004CaJES..41....1K. doi:10.1139/e03-084.
  2. Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 85. ISBN 1-84028-152-9.
  3. Buffa, Valentin; Frey, Eberhard; Steyer, J.-Sébastien; Laurin, Michel (2021-07-12). "A new cranial reconstruction of Coelurosauravus elivensis Piveteau, 1926 (Diapsida, Weigeltisauridae) and its implications on the paleoecology of the first gliding vertebrates". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 41 (2): e1930020. doi:10.1080/02724634.2021.1930020. ISSN 0272-4634. S2CID 237517962.
  4. Smith, R. M. H. 2000. Sedimentology and taphonomy of Late Permian vertebrate fossil localities in Southwestern Madagascar. Paleontologia Africana 36:25–41

Further reading

  • Currie, P. J. (1981). "Hovasaurus boulei, an aquatic eosuchian from the Upper Permian of Madagascar". Palaeontologia Africana. 24: 99–168. hdl:10539/16296.
  • D. Lambert, D. Naish and E. Wyse 2001, "Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and prehistoric life", p. 77, Dorling Kindersley Limited, London. ISBN 0-7513-0955-9

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.