Aubrey J. Roberts, Patrick S. Druckenmiller, Lene L. Delsett & Jørn H. Hurum (2017)
Osteology and relationships of Colymbosaurus Seeley, 1874, based on new material of C. svalbardensis from the Slottsmøya Member, Agardhfjellet Formation of central Spitsbergen.
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology Article: e1278381
Colymbosaurus is a genus of long-necked plesiosaurian represented by two valid species: C. megadeirus from the Upper Kimmeridge Clay Formation (Kimmeridgian–Tithonian) of the United Kingdom and C. svalbardensis from the Slottsmøya Member of the Agardhfjellet Formation (Tithonian–Berriasian) of Svalbard, Norway. Due to the lack of complete and articulated skeletons and a near absence of cranial material, Colymbosaurus has been problematic to characterize morphologically. Here, we describe and conduct a phylogenetic analysis on an informative new specimen referable to C. svalbardensis from the Slottsmøya Member, preserving a large portion of the axial and appendicular skeleton. The new material contributes important new osteological data for the species and together with an extensive examination of congeners in British museums, clarifies the diagnostic characters of the genus. We provide two new diagnostic characters of the epipodials for the genus and reevaluate the utility of an anteroposteriorly oriented bisecting ridge on the distal end of the propodials. We also present two new diagnostic features for C. svalbardensis regarding the neural canal and femoral morphology. A phylogenetic analysis recovers a monophyletic and well-supported Colymbosaurus. The new specimen of C. svalbardensis confirms that this species is not synonymous with other described Slottsmøya Member plesiosauroids, demonstrating considerable diversity of the clade at high latitudes close to the Jurassic–Cretaceous boundary.