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Atychodracon, new plesiosaur from Lower Jurassic of Britain (free pdf)

Ben Creisler

A new paper:

Adam S. Smith (2015)
Reassessment of ‘Plesiosaurus’ megacephalus (Sauropterygia:
Plesiosauria) from the Triassic-Jurassic boundary, UK.
Palaeontologia Electronica 18.1.20A: 1-20.
doi: palaeo-electronica.org/content/2015/1146-plesiosaurus-megacephalus

The holotype specimen of ‘Plesiosaurus’ megacephalus Stutchbury, 1846
(BRSMG Cb 2335) was destroyed in an air raid on Bristol during WWII.
The specimen comprised a complete skeleton from the Triassic-Jurassic
boundary of Street-on-the-Fosse, Somerset, UK. Plaster casts of the
skull and right forelimb produced prior to its destruction, in
conjunction with historical photographs and original descriptions,
provide three-dimensional anatomical data for a modern systematic
diagnosis of the taxon. A previously proposed neotype specimen (LEICS
G221.1851) is therefore regarded as a referred specimen. Detailed
comparison with other Lower Jurassic plesiosaurians demonstrates that
‘Plesiosaurus’ megacephalus is a distinct taxon, separate from
Rhomaleosaurussensu stricto and Eurycleidus arcuatus, and so a new
genus is erected to accommodate it: Atychodracon gen. nov. The
clarification and description of Atychodracon megacephalus is a vital
step towards understanding the diversity and resolving the systematics
of large-bodied plesiosaurians from the Triassic-Jurassic boundary.