A new Plesiosauroid (Reptilia: Sauropterygia) from the Agardhfjellet Formation (Middle Volgian) of central Spitsbergen, Norway

Knutsen, Espen M., Druckenmiller, Patrick S., and Hurum, Jørn H. (2012) A new Plesiosauroid (Reptilia: Sauropterygia) from the Agardhfjellet Formation (Middle Volgian) of central Spitsbergen, Norway. Norwegian Journal of Geology, 92. pp. 213-234.

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At present, our knowledge of plesiosauroid diversity from the uppermost Jurassic (Tithonian/Volgian) is very limited. Newly discovered material from the Slottsmøya Member of the Agardhfjellet Formation of central Spitsbergen, Svalbard, contributes significant new information on this poorly known interval and helps bridge a temporal gap between better known plesiosaurians from the older Jurassic deposits of Europe, and Cretaceous of North America. The partially articulated skeleton of a juvenile long-necked plesiosaurian, PMO 216.839, is one of the most complete plesiosaur fossils known from Spitsbergen and represents a new taxon, Djupedalia engeri gen. et sp. nov.

Whilst sharing some similarities with previously described taxa from the Oxford Clay (Muraenosaurus, Tricleidus, and Cryptoclidus) and the Kimmeridge Clay formations (Kimmerosaurus) of England, the new taxon can be diagnosed by features of the cervical vertebrae, including centrum proportions and morphology, a very pronounced posterior shift in the neural spines relative to the centrum, fused prezygapophyses and greatly elongated postzygapophyses, as well as extremely short dorsal neural spines and femora that are longer than the humeri. The new taxon can also be distinguished from other newly-described plesiosauroids from Svalbard, thus indicating that several plesiosaurian taxa existed at high paleolatitudes during the Late Jurassic.

Item ID: 49579
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1502-5322
Funders: ExxonMobil, Fugro, OMW, Spitsbergen Travel, Powershop, National Geographic, University of Oslo
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2017 01:08
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0403 Geology > 040308 Palaeontology (incl Palynology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 100%
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