New transitional fossil from late Jurassic of Chile sheds light on the origin of modern crocodiles

Fernando E. Novas, Federico L. Agnolin, Gabriel L. Lio, Sebastián Rozadilla, Manuel Suárez, Rita de la Cruz, Ismar de Souza Carvalho, David Rubilar-Rogers, Marcelo P. Isasi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We describe the basal mesoeucrocodylian Burkesuchus mallingrandensis nov. gen. et sp., from the Upper Jurassic (Tithonian) Toqui Formation of southern Chile. The new taxon constitutes one of the few records of non-pelagic Jurassic crocodyliforms for the entire South American continent. Burkesuchus was found on the same levels that yielded titanosauriform and diplodocoid sauropods and the herbivore theropod Chilesaurus diegosuarezi, thus expanding the taxonomic composition of currently poorly known Jurassic reptilian faunas from Patagonia. Burkesuchus was a small-sized crocodyliform (estimated length 70 cm), with a cranium that is dorsoventrally depressed and transversely wide posteriorly and distinguished by a posteroventrally flexed wing-like squamosal. A well-defined longitudinal groove runs along the lateral edge of the postorbital and squamosal, indicative of a anteroposteriorly extensive upper earlid. Phylogenetic analysis supports Burkesuchus as a basal member of Mesoeucrocodylia. This new discovery expands the meagre record of non-pelagic representatives of this clade for the Jurassic Period, and together with Batrachomimus, from Upper Jurassic beds of Brazil, supports the idea that South America represented a cradle for the evolution of derived crocodyliforms during the Late Jurassic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14960
JournalScientific Reports
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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