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[dinosaur] New specimen of Late Cretaceous crocodyliform Neuquensuchus

Ben Creisler

A new paper:

Gabriel Lio, Federico L. Agnolin, Agustín G. Martinelli, Martín D. Ezcurra & Fernando E. Novas (2017)
New specimen of the enigmatic, Late Cretaceous crocodyliform Neuquensuchus universitas sheds light on the anatomy of the species.
Cretaceous Research (advance online publication)
doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cretres.2017.09.014

Neuquensuchus universitas is an enigmatic crocodyliform known by a single, incomplete postcranial skeleton collected in the Upper Cretaceous (Santonian) Bajo de la Carpa Formation, Neuquén province, Patagonia, Argentina. Here we describe a second specimen of N. universitas that adds important features related to the neck and limb anatomy. The new specimen allows recognizing several convergent features with dinosaurs, including a roughly S-shaped neck in lateral view and extremely gracile limb bones. In addition, the anatomy of the neural arch of the available cervical and dorsal vertebrae possesses a unique combination of traits not seen in any other crocodylomorph, including a laterally concave, fan-shaped prezygodiapophyseal lamina that overlaps most of the anterior half of the base of the neural arch and centrum in lateral view and a conspicuous, horizontal prezygopostzygapophyseal lamina. The phylogenetic analysis conducted here found an unresolved position for Neuquensuchus among early branching non-mesoeucrocodylian crocodyliforms.

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