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A NEW OXFORDIAN PLIOSAURID IN THE CARIBBEAN SEAWAY



A NEW OXFORDIAN PLIOSAURID (PLESIOSAURIA, PLIOSAURIDAE) IN THE CARIBBEAN SEAWAY
by ZULMA GASPARINI
 
Abstract: A new pliosaurid, Gallardosaurus iturraldei gen nov. et sp. nov., was 
found in the Vin~ales area, western Cuba, in sediments of the Jagua Formation, 
middle-late Oxfordian. This new taxon is characterized by: wide participation 
of the premaxilla in the outer margin of the external naris; frontal not 
participating in the orbital margin; postorbital in contact with the jugal and 
squamosal; presence of anterior pterygoid vacuity; cultriform process of 
parasphenoid convex and exposed in palatal view; pterygoid flanges high; jaw 
articulation low relative to tooth row; trihedral teeth in cross-section and 
with smooth ridges at least in the labial face. A phylogenetic analysis 
suggests that Gallardosaurus forms a clade with Peloneustes, the most common 
pliosaurid genus occurring in the Oxford Clay. The Caribbean Seaway was, at 
least since the Oxfordian, a corridor that permitted the interchange for marine 
biota between Western Tethys and Eastern Pacific realms. Among vertebrates, 
bony fish and long-necked plesiosaurs prevailed. However, marine pleurodiran 
turtles, metriorhynchid crocodilians, ophthalmosaurian ichthyosaurs, and 
pliosaurids (G. iturraldei gen. nov. et sp. nov.) have also been found, as well 
as at least two species of pterosaurs, and one camarasaurian dinosaur. Among 
these reptiles there were off-shore pelagic forms such as the ichthyosaurs and 
metriorhynchids, together with the pliosaurid G. iturraldei gen. nov. et sp. 
nov.; other taxa were presumably less pelagic, such as the pleurodiran turtles 
and the cryptoclidid plesiosauroids. Gallardosaurus iturraldei gen. nov. et sp. 
nov. would have played the role of an active predator taking advantage of 
nectonic fish recorded in the area. Key words: Pliosaurid, Oxfordian, Cuba, 
Caribbean Seaway. 
 
"Dr. Grant, my dear Dr. Sattler....... Welcome to Jurassic Park!"
John Hammond in JP1
______________________________________________ 
Ing. Yasmani Ceballos Izquierdo    <yceballos@uci.cu <mailto:yceballos@uci.cu> 
>