Thursday, December 31, 2015

Muiscasaurus catheti: A new Ophthalmosaurid Ichthyosaur From Barremian/Aptian Cretaceous Colombia

A new ophthalmosaurid ichthyosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Colombia


Maxwell et al


Cretaceous ichthyosaurs were relatively diverse in temperate latitudes, but few species have been described from the palaeotropics. Here, we describe a new ophthalmosaurid ichthyosaur, Muiscasaurus catheti gen. et sp. nov., from the Barremian–Aptian aged Paja Formation of Colombia. This species is known only from a partial skull and differs from all other ichthyosaurs in the unusual configuration of the external narial opening, slender rostrum, narrow postorbital region, and gracile dentition. It is the second ichthyosaur described from the Paja Formation, suggesting moderate taxonomic and ecological ichthyosaur diversity in the region during the Early Cretaceous.

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