Wednesday, August 1, 2018

[Paleontology • 2018] Paludidraco multidentatus • New Highly Pachyostotic Nothosauroid Interpreted As A Filter-feeding Triassic Marine Reptile

Paludidraco multidentatus 
Miguel Chaves, Ortega & Pérez-García, 2018

Two well-preserved specimens of a new eosauropterygian from the Upper Triassic of Central Spain are attributed to a new taxon, Paludidraco multidentatus gen. et sp. nov. It is a member of Simosauridae that presents several exclusive characters suggesting a highly specialized trophic adaptation. This discovery increases the already high ecological disparity of the Triassic marine reptiles.

KEYWORDSSauropterygia, Simosauridae, Keuper, Spain

Systematic palaeontology
 Sauropterygia Owen, 1860
 Eosauropterygia Rieppel, 1994
Nothosauroidea Baur, 1889
Simosauridae Huene, 1948

Paludidraco multidentatus gen. et sp. nov.

Etymology. The generic name is composed of the Latin words paludos, meaning marshy (in reference to the El Atance reservoir) and draco, from the Latin word for dragon. The specific name refers to the Latin words multi, meaning numerous, and dentatus, for toothed.

MUPA-ATZ0101, holotype of the new eosauropterygian Paludidraco multidentatus.
 The relative position of the two blocks and the skull corresponds to their original position in the field.

 Remains belonging to two individuals of the new eosauropterygian Paludidraco multidentatus gen. et sp. nov. have been recovered from the Upper Triassic El Atance site (Central Spain). Paludidraco multidentatus is primarily characterized by a very slender mandible and numerous small and sicklelike teeth with pleurodont implantation, as well as an extremely pachyostotic axial skeleton. An ecological role analogous to that of extant manatees is interpreted for this bizarre sauropterygian. Therefore, this discovery increases the already high disparity of the sauropterygians from the Triassic.

Carlos de Miguel Chaves, Francisco Ortega and Adán Pérez-García. 2018. New Highly Pachyostotic Nothosauroid Interpreted As A Filter-feeding Triassic Marine Reptile. Biology Letters.  DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2018.0130