Saturday, March 18, 2017

[Paleontology • 2015] Vegasaurus molyi, gen. et sp. nov. (Plesiosauria, Elasmosauridae), from the Cape Lamb Member (Lower Maastrichtian) of the Snow Hill Island Formation, Vega Island, Antarctica, and Remarks on Wedellian Elasmosauridae


Vegasaurus molyi 
O'Gorman, Salgado, Olivero & Marenssi, 2015  


ABSTRACT
A new elasmosaurid, Vegasaurus molyi, gen. et sp. nov., from Vega Island, James Ross Archipelago, Antarctica, is described. The holotype and only specimen of this species (MLP 93-I-5-1) was collected from the lower Maastrichtian Cape Lamb Member of the Snow Hill Island Formation. Vegasaurus molyi is the only Antarctic elasmosaurid and one of only a few Late Cretaceous elasmosaurids from the Southern Hemisphere whose postcranial anatomy is well known. Vegasaurus molyi is distinguished from other elasmosaurids by the following combination of characters: cervical region with 54 vertebrae with elongated centra, dumbbell-shaped articular faces and lateral ridge present in the anterior and middle parts of the neck but absent in the posterior-most cervical vertebrae; scapula with ventral ramus bearing a strong ridge in the anteromedial corner of its dorsal surface; ilium shaft with expanded distal end, divided into two parts forming an angle of 140 opening anteriorly; and humerus with anterior knee and prominent posterior projection with accessory posterior articular facet. Preliminary phylogenetic analysis places V. molyi within a clade that includes the Late Cretaceous Wedellian aristonectine elasmosaurids, Aristonectes and Kaiwhekea. This indicates a close relationship between Aristonectinae and non-Aristonectinae Late Cretaceous Weddellian elasmosaurids and suggests a Weddellian origin for the Aristonectinae







José Patricio O'Gorman, Leonardo Salgado, Eduardo B. Olivero and Sergio A. Marenssi. 2015. Vegasaurus molyi, gen. et sp. nov. (Plesiosauria, Elasmosauridae), from the Cape Lamb Member (Lower Maastrichtian) of the Snow Hill Island Formation, Vega Island, Antarctica, and Remarks on Wedellian Elasmosauridae.
  Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 35(3); e931285.  DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2014.931285


Hallan una nueva especie de plesiosaurio en la Antártida
La nueva especie de plesiosaurio, bautizada como Vegasaurus molyi, vivió hace aproximadamente 70 millones de años y alcanzó los 6,7 metros de longitud. Sus restos se encontraron en la Isla Vega y, tras arduas tareas de rescate, se obtuvo su esqueleto casi completo.

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