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Aplestosuchus, new baurusuchid crocodyliform from Late Cretaceous of Brazil

From: Ben Creisler

New in PLoS ONE:

Pedro L. Godoy, Felipe C. Montefeltro, Mark A. Norell & Max C. Langer (2014)
An Additional Baurusuchid from the Cretaceous of Brazil with Evidence
of Interspecific Predation among Crocodyliformes.
PLoS ONE 9(5): e97138.

A new Baurusuchidae (Crocodyliformes, Mesoeucrocodylia), Aplestosuchus
sordidus, is described based on a nearly complete skeleton collected
in deposits of the Adamantina Formation (Bauru Group, Late Cretaceous)
of Brazil. The nesting of the new taxon within Baurusuchidae can be
ensured based on several exclusive skull features of this clade, such
as the quadrate depression, medial approximation of the prefrontals,
rostral extension of palatines (not reaching the level of the rostral
margin of suborbital fenestrae), cylindrical dorsal portion of
palatine bar, ridge on the ectopterygoid-jugal articulation, and
supraoccipital with restricted thin transversal exposure in the
caudalmost part of the skull roof. A newly proposed phylogeny of
Baurusuchidae encompasses A. sordidus and recently described forms,
suggesting its sixter-taxon relationship to Baurusuchus albertoi,
within Baurusuchinae. Additionally, the remains of a sphagesaurid
crocodyliform were preserved in the abdominal cavity of the new
baurusuchid. Direct fossil evidence of behavioral interaction among
fossil crocodyliforms is rare and mostly restricted to bite marks
resulting from predation, as well as possible conspecific male-to-male
aggression. This is the first time that a direct and unmistaken
evidence of predation between different taxa of this group is recorded
as fossils. This discovery confirms that baurusuchids were top
predators of their time, with sphagesaurids occupying a lower trophic
position, possibly with a more generalist diet.