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Dolichorhynchops tropicensis, new plesiosaur species (+ marine reptile stuff)

From: Ben Creisler

A new species of plesiosaur from Utah:

Rebecca Schmeisser McKean (2011) 
A new species of polycotylid plesiosaur (Reptilia: Sauropterygia) from the
Lower Turonian of Utah: extending the stratigraphic range of
Cretaceous Research (advance online publication)

Recent work in the Tropic Shale by the Museum of Northern Arizona reveals a
high biodiversity for plesiosaurs along the western margin of the
Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway during the Cenomanian and the Turonian.
This paper describes a new species of polycotylid plesiosaur from the
Tropic Shale, Dolichorhynchops tropicensis, which adds to the known
biodiversity from this time period. The identification is based on two
specimens, a well-preserved, nearly complete skeleton including the skull
and an additional specimen with only fragmentary skeletal elements. The
material shares several synapomorphic characters with Dolichorhynchops,
including the shape of the temporal fenestrae, the shape of the sagittal
crest, the trend of the ectopterygoids, the morphology of the teeth, and
the number of teeth within the mandibular symphysis. D. tropicensis differs
from other species of Dolichorhynchops in a greater size range of the
teeth, moderately constricted dorsal vertebrae, angled anterior processes
on the coracoids, and the presence of well-defined facets on the
propodials. The specimens are of Early Turonian age (based primarily on
ammonite biostratigraphy and bentonite marker beds), and their discovery
extends the known stratigraphic range for Dolichorhynchops back by
approximately seven million years. This suggests that Dolichorhynchops
tropicensis and Trinacromerum bentonianum, a closely related polycotylid,
co-existed in the Western Interior Seaway.

A new review of living marine reptiles in PLoS ONE:



The paleontology Museum in Tübingen has reopened with updated lighting and
displays. This news article in German has active 360-degree panoramas of
some of the exhibits, including marine reptiles. They don't show the
Plateosaurus skeletons, however.


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