New aristonectine elasmosaurid plesiosaur specimens from the Early Maastrichtian of Angola and comments on paedomorphism in plesiosaurs

R. Araújo*, Michael J. Polcyn, J. Lindgren, L. Jacobs, A. S. Schulp, O. Mateus, António Olímpio Gonçalves, M.L. Morais

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Abstract

    New elasmosaurid plesiosaur specimens are described from the Early Maastrichtian of Angola. Phylogenetic analyses reconstruct the Angolan taxon as an aristonectine elasmosaurid and the sister taxon of an unnamed form of similar age from New Zealand. Comparisons also indicate a close relationship with an unnamed form previously described from Patagonia. All of these specimens exhibit an ostensibly osteologically immature external morphology, but histological analysis of the Angolan material suggests an adult with paedomorphic traits. By extension, the similarity of the Angolan, New Zealand and Patagonian material indicates that these specimens represent a widespread paedomorphic yet unnamed taxon.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)93-108
    Number of pages16
    JournalNetherlands Journal of Geosciences = Geologie en Mijnbouw
    Volume94
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2014

    Keywords

    • Africa
    • Cretaceous
    • histology
    • marine reptiles
    • Paedomorphism
    • plesiosaurs

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