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)
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.