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Occurrence of a young elasmosaurid plesiosaur skeleton from the Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) of Antarctica

Open-File Report 2007-1047-SRP-066

By:
, , ,
DOI: 10.3133/ofr20071047SRP066

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Abstract

The most completely articulated fossil skeleton heretofore found on the continent of Antarctica is represented by a juvenile plesiosaur. The specimen was found in the Sandwich Bluff area of Vega Island east of the Antarctic Peninsula from Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) marine deposits from the upper Snow Hill Island Formation. The plesiosaur skeleton is represented by a nearly complete torso, partial paddles, and neck and tail sections. Along the ventral margin of the torso are articulated gastralia, some that are unusual in being forked. Numerous small gastroliths are associated within the trunk cavity, indicating that even juveniles ingest gastroliths. Coupled with other known specimens, the skeleton indicates shallow marine environment may have been an area where marine reptiles had their young, and the young remained until reaching maturity prior to facing open marine environments. The morphology of the specimen suggests the skeleton represents a juvenile Mauisaurus, an elasmosaurid plesiosaur taxon originally described from New Zealand and endemic to the Weddellian Province of the austral region.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Occurrence of a young elasmosaurid plesiosaur skeleton from the Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) of Antarctica
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
2007-1047-SRP-066
DOI:
10.3133/ofr20071047SRP066
Year Published:
2007
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Description:
4 p.
Larger Work Type:
Report
Larger Work Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Other Geospatial:
Antarctica;Vega Island
Additional Online Files(Y/N):
N