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Late Cretaceous-early Paleogene crocodylomorphs of Europe across K-PG boundary



Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com


A new online paper:

Eduardo Puértolas-Pascual, Alejandro Blanco, Christopher A. Brochu &
José Ignacio Canudo (2015)
Review of the Late Cretaceous-early Paleogene crocodylomorphs of
Europe: Extinction patterns across the K-PG boundary.
Cretaceous Research (advance online publication)
doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2015.08.002
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195667115300458

Highlights

Database with all sites with crocodiles from Late Cretaceous -
Paleocene of Europe.
Higher abundance of Crocodylomorpha during the Campanian and Maastrichtian.
Eusuchia is the most typical clade.
Continental crocodylomorphs were highly affected at the K-Pg boundary.
Only some marine species seem to survive across the K-Pg crisis.


Abstract

Although the European dinosaur succession during the latest Cretaceous
and its relationship with the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass
extinction has been the focus of recent work, other continental
vertebrates, such as crocodylomorphs, have received less attention.
The European continental record of crocodylomorphs in general, and of
eusuchians in particular, is relatively dense through the
Maastrichtian until the K-Pg boundary. Traditionally it has been
argued that continental crocodylomorphs were minimally impacted by the
K-Pg extinction, but they were substantially affected in Europe with
the disappearance of endemic eusuchians such as Hylaeochampsidae,
Allodaposuchus and their close relatives, and non-eusuchians such as
Doratodon or Theriosuchus. Despite extensive sampling in Danian
continental deposits, only scarce fragmentary crocodylomorph remains
have been cited. It is not until the late Paleocene and Eocene that a
recovery in continental crocodylomorphs is observed. The presence of
taxa such as planocraniids, the alligatoroids Diplocynodon and
Hassiacosuchus, and stem crocodyloids during this period provide the
first reliable continental records of Crocodylia in Europe and is best
explained by post-extinction immigration from Asia or North America.
By contrast, marine forms such as Thoracosaurus are found on both
sides of the K-Pg boundary in Europe. The adaptation of these marine
animals to different environments, from shallow seas to more
transitional or fluvial environments, could be the key to their
success and survival across the K-Pg boundary, as seen in other marine
crocodylomorph clades such as Dyrosauridae.