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Pannoniasaurus, new freshwater mosasauroid from Hungary



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com

New in PLoS ONE:

László Makádi, Michael W. Caldwell, Attila Osi (2012)
The First Freshwater Mosasauroid (Upper Cretaceous, Hungary) and a New
Clade of Basal Mosasauroids.
PLoS ONE 7(12): e51781.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051781
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0051781


Mosasauroids are conventionally conceived of as gigantic, obligatorily
aquatic marine lizards (1000s of specimens from marine deposited
rocks) with a cosmopolitan distribution in the Late Cretaceous (90–65
million years ago [mya]) oceans and seas of the world. Here we report
on the fossilized remains of numerous individuals (small juveniles to
large adults) of a new taxon, Pannoniasaurus inexpectatus gen. et sp.
nov. from the Csehbánya Formation, Hungary (Santonian, Upper
Cretaceous, 85.3–83.5 mya) that represent the first known mosasauroid
that lived in freshwater environments. Previous to this find, only one
specimen of a marine mosasauroid, cf. Plioplatecarpus sp., is known
from non-marine rocks in Western Canada. Pannoniasaurus inexpectatus
gen. et sp. nov. uniquely possesses a plesiomorphic pelvic anatomy, a
non-mosasauroid but pontosaur-like tail osteology, possibly limbs like
a terrestrial lizard, and a flattened, crocodile-like skull. Cladistic
analysis reconstructs P. inexpectatus in a new clade of mosasauroids:
(Pannoniasaurus (Tethysaurus (Yaguarasaurus, Russellosaurus))). P.
inexpectatus is part of a mixed terrestrial and freshwater faunal
assemblage that includes fishes, amphibians turtles, terrestrial
lizards, crocodiles, pterosaurs, dinosaurs and birds.