A new skull representing the oldest record of the genus Lariosaurus in the Germanic Basin is described. The small-sized skull originates from the early middle Anisian (Bithynian) of the Winterswijkse Steengroeve (Winterswijk, The Netherlands) and is assigned to L. vosseveldensis, sp. nov. Supplementation of a recently established phylogeny with L. vosseveldensis, sp. nov., recovered it within Lariosaurus as the sister taxon to Nothosaurus winkelhorsti and L. buzzii. The generic assignment of N. juvenilis, N. youngi, and N. winkelhorsti to Nothosaurus must be reevaluated to reestablish support for a monophyletic Lariosaurus, and only a definitive resolution of the polytomy including Germanosaurus could recover a monophyletic Nothosauridae. The Winterswijk locality has previously yielded a rich and diverse marine reptile fauna, including an endemic basal placodont. The nearly contemporaneous occurrence of L. vosseveldensis, sp. nov., and L. hongguoensis from the middle Anisian (Pelsonian) of China indicates a very rapid dispersal of the group, but does not resolve the origin of Sauropterygia (eastern Tethyan faunal province vs. western Tethyan faunal province).
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Vol. 36 • No. 4