Nicholas R. Longrich (2016)
A new species of Pluridens (Mosasauridae: Halisaurinae) from the upper Campanian of Southern Nigeria.
Cretaceous Research (advance online publication)
The Upper Cretaceous of Africa has produced a diverse fauna of mosasaurs, including the highly specialized, long-jawed Pluridens. The type of Pluridens walkeri comes from the Maastrichtian Farin-Doutchi Formation of Niger, with a second, referred specimen coming from the Campanian section of the Campanian-Maastrichtian Nkporo Shale near Calabar, in southern Nigeria. Comparisons of this referred specimen with the holotype suggest that it represents a distinct and more primitive species. The Calabar jaw resembles P. walkeri in being long and narrow anteriorly with a shallow subdental shelf, and in having small, numerous, recurved teeth with medially positioned replacement pits. However, it lacks many of the derived features that characterize Pluridens walkeri, such as the extremely long and straight jaw, the extreme lateral protrusion and subcircular section of the dentary, strong transverse expansion of the dental thecae, and extreme reduction and increase in number of the teeth. The Calabar Pluridens is therefore referred to a new species, Pluridens calabaria. Following recent studies, Pluridens is considered to represent a highly derived member of the Halisaurinae. The marked differences between the Campanian and Maastrichtian species of the genus underscore the rapid pace of mosasaur evolution during the Cretaceous.