Project 3273: R. A. Otero, S. Soto-Acuna, F. R. O'keefe. 2018. Osteology of Aristonectes quiriquinensis (Elasmosauridae, Aristonectinae) from the upper Maastrichtian of central Chile. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 38 (1):e1408638.
Specimen: † Aristonectes parvidens (unvouchered)
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The upper Maastrichtian elasmosaurid plesiosaur Aristonectes quiriquinensis from central Chile is here redescribed following further preparation of the holotype. New cranial characters include a flattened skull with a caudal extension of the mandibular articulation far posterior to the occipital condyle; a very long, horizontal, and posteriorly oriented paroccipital process; mandible with restricted gape angle; and teeth oriented rostrally and not interlocking during occlusion. Postcranial features include the presence of very long extremities (ca. 3 m), whereas features of the caudal-most vertebrae suggest the presence of a horizontal caudal fin. Additionally, neuroanatomical features of Aristonectes are for the first time described based on a braincase cast. Integration of osteological features, anatomical comparisons, as well as taphonomic and environmental data strongly suggests that the foraging behavior of Aristonectes quiriquinensis incorporated a mix of engulfment and feeding from benthic sediments. This is a novelty among elasmosaurids, so far considered as mainly epipelagic feeders.

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Article DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2017.1408638

Project DOI: 10.7934/P3273,
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MorphoBank Project 3273
  • Creation Date:
    28 September 2018
  • Publication Date:
    09 November 2018
  • Project views: 7034

    Authors' Institutions

    • Marshall University

    • Universidad de Chile


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