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Aristonectes (Plesiosauria) skeleton from Chile

From: Ben Creisler

A new advance online paper:

Rodrigo A. Otero & José P. O'Gorman (2012)
Identification of the first postcranial skeleton of Aristonectes
Cabrera (Plesiosauroidea, Elasmosauridae) from the upper Maastrichtian
of the south-eastern Pacific, based on a bivariate graphic analysis.
Cretaceous Research (advance online publication)

Cervical vertebrae of elasmosaurids (Sauropterygia, Plesiosauroidea)
have proven to be informative even at family level. The present paper
uses a previously developed methodology based on bivariate graphic
analysis that evaluates the proportion indices of cervical vertebrae
in elasmosaurids, which is applied to a well-preserved postcranial
specimen of this group recovered from upper Maastrichtian beds of
central Chile. The plotting of such indices groups the Chilean
material with other specimens from the Late Cretaceous of Argentina
and Antarctica, the latter referred to the genus Aristonectes. This
result allows us to identify the first relatively complete individual
of the genus based on non-cranial characters. The identification of
the Chilean specimen as Aristonectes sp. provides important new data
on the postcranial skeleton of the genus, that has remained poorly
known until now.