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Phytosaurs from Baltic region of Europe



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com

A new online paper, just mentioned on the Chinleana blog:

Stephen L. Brusatte, Richard J. Butler, Grzegorz Niedzwiedzki, Tomasz
Sulej, Robert Bronowicz and Jonas Satkunas (2012)
First record of Mesozoic terrestrial vertebrates from Lithuania:
phytosaurs (Diapsida: Archosauriformes) of probable Late Triassic age,
with a review of phytosaur biogeography.
Geological Magazine (advance online publication).
doi:10.1017/S0016756812000428
http://128.232.233.5/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8642463&fulltextType=RA&fileId=S0016756812000428


Fossils of Mesozoic terrestrial vertebrates from Lithuania and the
wider East Baltic region of Europe have previously been unknown. We
here report the first Mesozoic terrestrial vertebrate fossils from
Lithuania: two premaxillary specimens and three teeth that belong to
Phytosauria, a common clade of semiaquatic Triassic archosauriforms.
These specimens represent an uncrested phytosaur, similar to several
species within the genera Paleorhinus, Parasuchus, Rutiodon and
Nicrosaurus. Because phytosaurs are currently only known from the
Upper Triassic, their discovery in northwestern Lithuania (the
Saltiskiai clay-pit) suggests that at least part of the Triassic
succession in this region is Late Triassic in age, and is not solely
Early Triassic as has been previously considered. The new specimens
are among the most northerly occurrences of phytosaurs in the Late
Triassic, as Lithuania was approximately 7-10 degrees further north
than classic phytosaur-bearing localities in nearby Germany and
Poland, and as much as 40 degrees further north than the best-sampled
phytosaur localities in North America. The far northerly occurrence of
the Lithuanian fossils prompts a review of phytosaur biogeography and
distribution, which suggests that these predators were widely
distributed in the Triassic monsoonal belt but rarer in more arid
regions.