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Reptiles from Jurassic lithographic limestones of Neuquén Province, Argentina

Ben Creisler

A new online paper:

Zulma Gasparini, Marta S. Fernández, Marcelo S. de la Fuente, Yanina
Herrera, Laura S. Codorniú &  Alberto Garrido (2014)
Reptiles from lithographic limestones of the Los Catutos member
(Middle-Upper Tithonian), Neuquén Province, Argentina: an essay on its
taxonomic composition and preservation in an environmental and
geographic context.
Ameghiniana (advance online publication)
doi: 10.5710/AMGH.14.08.2014.2738

The lithographic limestones of the Los Catutos Member (Vaca Muerta
Formation, Neuquén Province, Argentina) (late middle–early upper
Tithonian) bear a great diversity of marine reptiles. These deposits
are unique in the Southern Hemisphere since the record of lithographic
limestones from the Upper Jurassic is restricted to the Northern
Hemisphere, particularly to Western Europe. Some European basins are
very close in age (upper Kimmeridgian–lower Tithonian) but they do not
reach the upper–middle Tithonian. Additionally, in the European basins
the marine reptiles are mixed with continental biota whereas in Los
Catutos Member the biota is exclusively marine, being the pterosaurs
the only exception. The strictly marine biota is composed by
ichthyosaurs, two different species of turtles, one crocodyliform, and
one plesiosaur. The taxonomic composition of Los Catutos Member is
very similar to that found in Cerro Lotena (Portada Covunco Member,
middle Tithonian) (Vaca Muerta Formation). These members share the
same turtle species and one metriorhynchid genus, while ichthyosaurs
only coincide at a family level. The knowledge resulting from the
studies of marine reptiles of the Los Catutos Member, as well as those
found in other localities of the Neuquén Basin, helped to fill an
important gap in the evolution of each of the represented clades. On
this regard, they represent the only known marine reptiles from
Gondwana throughout the Jurassic/Cretaceous transition, which is
scarcely represented in other regions of the world.