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Lusonectes, new Lower Jurassic plesiosaur from Portugal



From: Ben Creisler
bh480@scn.org

A new plesiosaur:

Adam S. Smith, Ricardo Araújo, and Octávio Mateus (2011)
Lusonectes sauvagei, a new plesiosauroid from the Toarcian (Lower Jurassic)
of Alhadas, Portugal.
Acta Palaeontologica Polonica in press
available online 20 May 2011 
doi:10.4202/app.2011.0023
http://app.pan.pl/article/item/app20110023.html

A partial plesiosauroid skull from the São Gião Formation (Toarcian, Lower
Jurassic) of Alhadas, Portugal is re-evaluated and described as a new
taxon, Lusonectes sauvagei gen. et sp. nov. It has a single autapomorphy, a
broad triangular parasphenoid cultriform process that is as long as the
posterior interpterygoid vacuities, and also a unique character
combination, including a jugal that contacts the orbital margin, a distinct
parasphenoid-basisphenoid suture exposed between the posterior
interpterygoid vacuities, lack of an anterior interpterygoid vacuity, and
striations on the ventral surface of the pterygoids. Phylogenetic analysis
of Jurassic plesiosauroids places Lusonectes as outgroup to 'microcleidid
elasmosaurs', equivalent to the clade Plesiosauridae. Lusonectes sauvagei
is the only diagnostic plesiosaur from Portugal, and the westernmost
occurrence of any plesiosaurian in Europe.


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