The oldest plesiosaur (Reptilia, Sauropterygia) from Antarctica
Antarctic plesiosaurs are known from the Upper Cretaceous López de Bertodano and Snow Hill Island formations (Campanian to upper Maastrichtian), which crop out within the James Ross Basin region of the Antarctic Peninsula. Here we describe the first plesiosaur fossils from the Lachman Crags Member of the Santa Marta Formation, north-western James Ross Island. This material constitutes the stratigraphically oldest plesiosaur occurrence presently known from Antarctica, extending the occurrence of plesiosaurians in this continent back to Santonian times (86.3-83.5 Mya). Furthermore, MN 7163-V represents the first plesiosaur from this region not referable to the Elasmosauridae nor Aristonectes, indicating a greater diversity of this group of aquatic reptiles in Antarctica than previously suspected.
Keywords: James Ross Island; Antarctica; plesiosauria; Late Cretaceous; Museu Nacional; oldest
(Published: 7 June 2011)
Citation: Polar Research 2011, 30, 7265, DOI: 10.3402/polar.v30i0.7265
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Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to the Norwegian Polar Institute.