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Large predatory marine reptiles from Albian–Cenomanian of Poland

Ben Creisler

A new online paper:

Nathalie Bardet, Valentin Fischer and Marcin Machalski (2015)
Large predatory marine reptiles from the Albian–Cenomanian of Annopol, Poland.
Geological Magazine (advance online publication)
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0016756815000254

During the Early–Late Cretaceous transition, marine ecosystems in
Eurasia hosted a diverse set of large predatory reptiles that occupied
various niches. However, most of our current knowledge of these
animals is restricted to a small number of bonebed-like deposits.
Little is known of the geographical and temporal extent of such
associations. The middle Albian – middle Cenomanian
phosphorite-bearing succession exposed at Annopol, Poland produces
numerous ichthyosaurian and plesiosaurian fossils. These are mostly
isolated skeletal elements (e.g. teeth, vertebrae), but disarticulated
partial skeletons and an articulated, subvertically embedded
ichthyosaur skull are also available. The following taxa are
identified: ‘Platypterygius’ sp., cf. Ophthalmosaurinae, Ichthyosauria
indet., Polyptychodon interruptus, Pliosauridae indet., Elasmosauridae
indet. and Plesiosauria indet. The large-sized ichthyosaur
‘Platypterygius’ and the pliosaurid Polyptychodon interruptus
predominate within the upper Albian – middle Cenomanian deposits. The
Annopol record, combined with data from England, France and western
Russia, suggests that ‘Platypterygius’ and Polyptychodon interruptus
formed a long-term, stable ecological sympatry in marine ecosystems of
the European archipelago, at least during the Albian – middle
Cenomanian. In addition, the marine reptile assemblage from Annopol is
distinct from other Eurasian ecosystems in containing also
elasmosaurids in its Albian portion.