[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Giant mosasaur from Italy

From: Ben Creisler

A new paper. The specimen apparently does not have an official name at
this point. It may be a specimen of Romeosaurus or of

Federico Fanti, Andrea Cau & Alessandra Negri (2014)
A giant mosasaur (Reptilia, Squamata) with an unusually twisted
dentition from the Argille Scagliose Complex (late Campanian) of
Northern Italy.
Cretaceous Research 49: 91-104.
doi: 10.1016/j.cretres.2014.01.003.

A snout of a large-sized mosasaur from the Upper Cretaceous
pelagic-turbiditic deposits of the Argille Scagliose Complex of
Northern Italy is described. Nannofossil assemblages from the
immediately overlying strata belong to the late but not latest
Campanian calcareous nannofossil standard zone CC22, based on the
presence of Uniplanarius trifidus and Eiffellithus eximius. The
specimen includes a broken premaxilla, the anterior part of the
maxillae and dentaries in articulation: preserved teeth show
distinctive characters previously unreported in other mosasaurs.
Although the marginal teeth show a posterior migration of the labial
carina along the jaw length - diagnostic of derived mosasaurines -
they are unusual in the combination of features, including
anteriormost teeth with asteroid cross section followed by teeth with
crowns twisted labioposteriorly from one-third to one-half of their
height toward the apices. A comparison between the new specimen and
Mosasaurus hoffmanni skulls suggests an estimated skull length
comparable with some of the largest known mosasaurids. Consequently,
the new specimen represents the largest mosasaur and the largest
fossil reptile found in Italy to date. Several lines of dental
evidence also support the interpretation of the Italian mosasaur as a
macrophagous generalist predator. Paleogeographic reconstruction for
the Argille Scagliose Complex as well as the occurrence of typical
low- to mid-latitude nannofossils support a southern Tethyan margin
affinity of the taxon.

Andrea Cau's blog about the find with photos and  illustrations: