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1. chinaXiv:202106.00103 [pdf]

A juvenile skull of the longirostrine choristodere (Diapsida:Choristodera), Mengshanosaurus minimus gen. et sp. nov.,with comments on neochoristodere ontogeny

YUAN Meng; LI Da-Qing; Daniel T. KSEPKA; YI Hong-Yu
Subjects: Biology >> Zoology

Choristoderes were an important clade of semi-aquatic predators that occupied Laurasian freshwater ecosystems from the Middle Jurassic to the Miocene. During the Early Cretaceous, the neochoristodere lineage evolved large size and long snouts, converging on the body plan of modern crocodilians. Here, we describe a new longirostrine choristodere, Mengshanosaurus minimus gen. et sp. nov. from the Lower Cretaceous Mengyin Formation of Shandong Province, China. The holotype is the smallest reported neochoristodere individual, with a skull length of only 35 mm. The poorly ossified braincase, along with retention of a fontanel at the frontal-parietal suture, indicates this individual was a juvenile. Phylogenetic analyses recovered Mengshanosaurus as a neochoristodere, a placement supported by the presence of a single narial opening, fusion of the nasals, and expansion of the temporal fenestrae. In the Neochoristodera, Mengshanosaurus is sister to a clade consisting of Ikechosaurus, Tchoiria, Simoedosaurus, and Champsosaurus. It differs from other neochoristoderes in having the lacrimal foramen between the prefrontal and lacrimal, in addition to having large vomerine teeth (exceeding one-third the width of corresponding maxillary teeth). The closely arranged marginal teeth and large vomerine teeth suggest juvenile choristoderes may have fed on invertebrates and insects, similar to juveniles of modern crocodilians. However, the observation that very young neochoristoderes had similar skull proportions and marginal tooth shapes to adults, along with features suggesting a more fully aquatic ecology, suggest that neochoristoderes exhibited less pronounced ontogenetic niche shifts than modern crocodilians.

submitted time 2021-06-21 From cooperative journals:《古脊椎动物学报》 Hits4522Downloads396 Comment 0

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