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Revision of the enigmatic crocodyliform Elosuchus felixide Lapparent de Broin, 2002 from the Lower-Upper Cretaceous boundary of Niger: potential evidence for an early origin of the clade Dyrosauridae

Revision of the enigmatic crocodyliform Elosuchus felixide Lapparent de Broin, 2002 from the Lower-Upper Cretaceous boundary of Niger: potential evidence for an early origin of the clade Dyrosauridae
Revision of the enigmatic crocodyliform Elosuchus felixide Lapparent de Broin, 2002 from the Lower-Upper Cretaceous boundary of Niger: potential evidence for an early origin of the clade Dyrosauridae
The enigmatic crocodyliform ‘Elosuchus’ felixi from the Echkar Formation (upper Albian to lower Cenomanian, Early–Late Cretaceous boundary) west of In Abangharit, Agadez District, Niger, is here re-described. Our assessment of the material shows that there are at least two taxa amongst the referred material: ‘E.’ felixi, including the holotype (an incomplete lower jaw) and two larger incomplete lower jaws; and an incomplete premaxilla, which we refer to Elosuchus sp. All other referred material is herein considered Crocodyliformes indeterminate. Based on our study of ‘E.’ felixi we refer it to a new genus, Fortignathus. A comparative study and updated phylogenetic analyses both suggest that F. felixi comb. nov. is a non-hyposaurine dyrosaurid or a dyrosaurid sister taxon. This is supported by four characteristics, including: inferred double festooned maxillae, a large gap between the D2 and D3 alveoli, gladius-shaped anterior dentary, and enlarged D4 alveoli that have a subrectangular cross section. The paucity of material means we refrain from referring F. felixi comb. nov. to Dyrosauridae. This species and suggestive material from the Cenomanian of Sudan allows us to formulate two hypotheses, however: (1) basal dyrosaurids were either freshwater or could live in both freshwater and saltwater ecosystems; and (2) Africa was their place of origin and dispersal.
Cenomanian, Cretaceous, Dyrosauridae, Echkar Formation, Fortignathus, Niger
0024-4082
377-403
Young, Mark T.
d9880973-1dd1-4b1c-81a8-7494170dbac2
Hastings, Alexander K.
346bbd55-0fec-490b-a16a-5ef55818a8f8
Allain, Ronan
843addc1-71f8-4b30-b2a6-f01c85d43280
Smith, Thomas J.
9c603937-4b8f-4df8-98a0-7b739c9cab0e
Young, Mark T.
d9880973-1dd1-4b1c-81a8-7494170dbac2
Hastings, Alexander K.
346bbd55-0fec-490b-a16a-5ef55818a8f8
Allain, Ronan
843addc1-71f8-4b30-b2a6-f01c85d43280
Smith, Thomas J.
9c603937-4b8f-4df8-98a0-7b739c9cab0e

Young, Mark T., Hastings, Alexander K., Allain, Ronan and Smith, Thomas J. (2017) Revision of the enigmatic crocodyliform Elosuchus felixide Lapparent de Broin, 2002 from the Lower-Upper Cretaceous boundary of Niger: potential evidence for an early origin of the clade Dyrosauridae. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 179 (2), 377-403. (doi:10.1111/zoj.12452).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The enigmatic crocodyliform ‘Elosuchus’ felixi from the Echkar Formation (upper Albian to lower Cenomanian, Early–Late Cretaceous boundary) west of In Abangharit, Agadez District, Niger, is here re-described. Our assessment of the material shows that there are at least two taxa amongst the referred material: ‘E.’ felixi, including the holotype (an incomplete lower jaw) and two larger incomplete lower jaws; and an incomplete premaxilla, which we refer to Elosuchus sp. All other referred material is herein considered Crocodyliformes indeterminate. Based on our study of ‘E.’ felixi we refer it to a new genus, Fortignathus. A comparative study and updated phylogenetic analyses both suggest that F. felixi comb. nov. is a non-hyposaurine dyrosaurid or a dyrosaurid sister taxon. This is supported by four characteristics, including: inferred double festooned maxillae, a large gap between the D2 and D3 alveoli, gladius-shaped anterior dentary, and enlarged D4 alveoli that have a subrectangular cross section. The paucity of material means we refrain from referring F. felixi comb. nov. to Dyrosauridae. This species and suggestive material from the Cenomanian of Sudan allows us to formulate two hypotheses, however: (1) basal dyrosaurids were either freshwater or could live in both freshwater and saltwater ecosystems; and (2) Africa was their place of origin and dispersal.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 27 April 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 12 July 2016
Published date: 1 February 2017
Keywords: Cenomanian, Cretaceous, Dyrosauridae, Echkar Formation, Fortignathus, Niger
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 397985
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/397985
ISSN: 0024-4082
PURE UUID: 0c934a84-fcb1-42d4-bf66-e90542724e2e

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 13 Jul 2016 09:44
Last modified: 08 Jan 2022 18:35

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Contributors

Author: Mark T. Young
Author: Alexander K. Hastings
Author: Ronan Allain
Author: Thomas J. Smith

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