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Elasmosaurid plesiosaur from Maastrichtian of Chile



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com

A new online paper:

Rodrigo A. Otero, Sergio Soto-Acuña & David Rubilar-Rogers (2012)
A postcranial skeleton of an elasmosaurid plesiosaur from the
Maastrichtian of central Chile, with comments on the affinities of
Late Cretaceous plesiosauroids from the Weddellian Biogeographic
Province.
Cretaceous Research (advance online publication)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cretres.2012.03.010
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195667112000493



An almost complete postcranial skeleton recovered from late
Maastrichtian beds of central Chile, which can be confidently referred
to the clade Elasmosauridae (Sauropterygia: Plesiosauroidea), is
described. The material displays diagnostic characters separately
observed in several known Late Cretaceous plesiosaurians from the
Southern Hemisphere, particularly from the Weddellian Biogeographic
Province. The phylogenetic analysis indicates that the material
studied has close affinities with the genus Aristonectes, while
supports the position of the Late Cretaceous plesiosaurian Kaiwhekea
katiki as well as the inclusion of Aristonectes parvidens
(=“Morturneria seymourensis”) in a new clade (Aristonectinae) within
the Elasmosauridae. This indicates that cryptoclidians are still
restricted to the Middle–Upper Jurassic, and verifies that the family
Aristonectidae is polyphyletic. The material studied represents a
valuable source for comparison of the morphologic characters present
in elasmosaurids from the Weddellian Province towards the end of the
Cretaceous, shedding light on the evolution of derived members of this
clade.