||The Qaidam Basin is a key area for understanding the paleoenvironmental and faunal history of the Tibetan Plateau. The fossil schizothoracine fish, Hsianwenia wui, evolved extraordinarily thickened bones to adapt to the aridification of the Qaidam Basin during the Pliocene. However, the nature of the bone thickening itself remains elusive. To promote the further investigation of the physiological mechanism of the pachyostosis and the phylogenetic interrelationships of Hsianwenia and all relevant cyprinids, here we present a comprehensive morphological study of Hsianwenia. We have new information on the anterior part of the cranial cavity, a large supraneural 3 in the Weberian apparatus, numerous procurrent caudal fin rays supported by the preural centrum (Pu) 5, and a neural arch on Pu2. We also find the differentiated pattern of the bone-thickening: the pachyostosis exists in the endoskeleton but not in the dermal skeleton; it is more obvious in ventral bones than in dorsal ones, when the thickening is present in the dorsally and ventrally grouped endoskeletal bones (e.g., the epineural and epipleural intermuscular bones). Considering the integrity of musculoskeletal system manipulating the chewing activities, we suspect that the thickened pharyngeal jaws and the hard food processing might be associated with the unique hind protrusion (cleithral “humeral” process) of the dermal pectoral girdle of Hsianwenia.