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RE: Umoonasaurus, crested plesiosaur from Australia
Its about time that "Eric" got a name (wouldn't have realised this was Eric if
Mike Lee wasn't visiting)... not overly surprised to see he is not a
Leptocleidus after all.
Vertebrate palaeontologist and illustrator
website = www.geocities.com/ozraptor4
livejournal = http://www.livejournal.com/users/ozraptor4/
From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu [mailto:owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu] On Behalf Of Tim
Sent: Wednesday, 5 July 2006 11:37 AM
Subject: Umoonasaurus, crested plesiosaur from Australia
Apparently plesiosaurs could be crested too..
Benjamin P. Kear, Natalie I. Schroeder, and Michael S.Y. Lee. An archaic
crested plesiosaur in opal from the Lower Cretaceous high-latitude deposits
of Australia. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biology Letters.
FirstCite Early Online Publishing.
Abstract: "_Umoonasaurus demoscyllus_ gen. et sp. nov. is a new small-bodied
(approx. 2.5m) pliosauroid plesiosaur from the Lower Cretaceous
(Aptian-Albian) of southern Australia. It is represented by several partial
skeletons (one with a near complete skull is the most complete opalized
vertebrate fossil yet known), and is unique in having large crests on the
skull midline and above the orbits. _Umoonasaurus_ is surprisingly archaic
despite its relatively late age (approx. 115Myr ago) - being simultaneously
the most basal (primitive) and last surviving rhomaleosaurid. Notably, it
lacks the 'pliosauromorph' features (large head, short neck, gigantism)
typically characterizing many more derived Jurassic rhomaleosaurids; thus,
reinforcing the suspected convergent evolution of the 'pliosauromorph'
hypercarnivore body plan. _Umoonasaurus_ inhabited an Early Cretaceous
high-latitude (approx. 70°S) inland seaway subject to seasonally
near-freezing climatic conditions. This extreme environment supported a
diverse range of plesiosaur taxa, suggesting that these marine reptiles
might have possessed adaptations (e.g. heightened metabolic levels) to cope
with cold-water temperatures. Indeed, survival of ancient endemic lineages
such as _Umoonasaurus_ is a common phenomenon in Australian Cretaceous
vertebrate assemblages and might have been facilitated by isolation in
low-temperature high-latitude regions."
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