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[dinosaur] Suevoleviathan (Lower Jurassic ichthyosaur) redescribed from well preserved specimen

Ben Creisler

A new paper:

Michael W. Maisch (2020)
The best-preserved skeleton of Suevoleviathan integer (Bronn, 1844) (Reptilia: Ichthyosauria) from the Lower Jurassic of south-western Germany, with a discussion of the genus.
Neues Jahrbuch fÃr Geologie und PalÃontologie - Abhandlungen 297(2): 153 - 172
DOI: 10.1127/njgpa/2020/0918

The Lower Jurassic ichthyosaur Suevoleviathan integer (Bronn, 1844) is known from only few specimens. Here a full description of the most complete and best-preserved skeleton of this taxon, GPIT 328/4/5, is provided for the first time. Despite great general similarity, there are several major differences between GPIT 328/4/5 and the holotype of S. disinteger (v. Huene, 1926). These differences concern various parts of the postcranial skeleton (neural arches, rib articulation, scapula, ilium, tibia) that cannot be easily explained by ontogenetic differences. None of these differences is, however, demonstrable in the recently relocated holotype of S. integer, and GPIT 328/4/5 is referred to this species only because it lacks the autapomorphies of S. disinteger. Suevoleviathan integer is based on an incomplete, juvenile holotype that does not allow for the assessment of many important osteological features within the genus. It shows no clear autapomorphies, but can be characterized by a unique combination of characters. The osteological differences between the referred material of S. integer and the type of S. disinteger make it inadvisable to synonymize the latter species with the ill-defined S. integer. Suevoleviathan is only known from the immediate vicinity of Holzmaden, south-western Germany, exclusively by juvenile to subadult specimens. A record from France is questionable as it shows no definite autapomorphies of Suevoleviathan and should best be classified as aff. Suevoleviathan. The paleobiogeography of the genus therefore remains enigmatic.


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