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Mosasaur live birth supported by pelagic neonatal fossils (free pdf)



Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com


A new paper with a free pdf:

Daniel J. Field, Aaron LeBlanc, Adrienne Gau and Adam D. Behlke (2015)
Pelagic neonatal fossils support viviparity and precocial life history
of Cretaceous mosasaurs.
Palaeontology (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1111/pala.12165
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pala.12165/abstract
Free pdf:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pala.12165/epdf



Mosasaurs were large marine squamates that inhabited all of the
world's oceans during the Late Cretaceous. Their success as apex
predators has been attributed to their rapid acquisition of aquatic
adaptations, which allowed them to become fully pelagic. However,
little is known about the breeding biology of derived, flipper-bearing
mosasaurs, as the record of neonatal mosasaur fossils is extremely
sparse. Here, we report on the fragmentary cranial remains of two
neonatal mosasaurs from the Niobrara Formation, referred to Clidastes
sp. Comparison with other preliminary reports of neonatal mosasaurs
reveals that these specimens are among the smallest individuals ever
found and certainly represent the smallest known Clidastes specimens.
The recovery of these extremely young specimens from a pelagic setting
indicates that even neonatal mosasaurs occupied open oceanic habitats
and were likely born in this setting. These data shed new light on the
ecology of neonatal mosasaurs and illustrate the degree to which
size-related taphonomic and collection biases have influenced our
understanding of the early life history of these iconic marine
reptiles.

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News release

http://news.yale.edu/2015/04/10/new-beginning-baby-mosasaurs-thanks-yale-research