Just out | A new Mourasuchus (Alligatoroidea, Caimaninae) from the late Miocene of Venezuela, the phylogeny of Caimaninae and considerations on the feeding habits of Mourasuchus @ PeerJ


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Title: 

A new Mourasuchus (Alligatoroidea, Caimaninae) from the late Miocene of Venezuela, the phylogeny of Caimaninae and considerations on the feeding habits of Mourasuchus


Author(s)

Giovanne M. Cidade , Andrés Solórzano, Ascanio Daniel Rincón, Douglas Riff, Annie Schmaltz Hsiou


Abstract:

Mourasuchus (Alligatoroidea, Caimaninae) is one of the most peculiar crocodyliforms due to the skull morphology consisting of a long, wide, dorsoventrally flat rostrum with long, slender mandibular rami. Despite these peculiarities, the systematics, phylogeny and feeding habits of this taxon have not been properly studied. In this paper, we describe a new species of the genus, Mourasuchus pattersoni sp. nov., from the late Miocene of the Urumaco Formation of Venezuela. The new species differs from the other Mourasuchus species in having a lateromedially wide, dorsoventrally high jugal bone and a circular incisive foramen, which both represent autapomorphies of the new taxon. Phylogenetically, M. pattersoni sp. nov. is more closely related to M. amazonensis and the specimen UFAC-1424 (formely attributed to M. nativus) than to M. arendsi or M. atopus, whilst Mourasuchus is recovered once more as a monophyletic group. Furthermore, the cladistic analysis performed in this contribution offers a new phylogenetic assessment of Caimaninae, including many taxa described recently for the group. In this study, we also discuss the crocodylian diversity of the Urumaco Formation as well as how paleoenvironment may have contributed toward its evolution. In addition, we provide a discussion of the potential feeding habits of Mourasuchus. In this contribution, Mourasuchus is regarded as a taxon that likely preferred to prey on small animals. The unusual skull morphology of this group may have evolved to cover a large area with the rostrum, allowing for a more efficient prey capture, while the prey may have consisted predominantly of large amounts of small animals.

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READ IT HERE:

https://peerj.com/articles/3056/

Lurdes Fonseca

Assistant Professor and Researcher at University of Lisbon
Sociologist (PhD), Paleontologist (Researcher in Micropaleontology), Majors in Sociology and Biology, Minor in Geology. Main interests in Paleontology: Microfossils, Molecular fossils, Paleobiology and Paleoecology. (read more about me)