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Large predatory marine reptiles from the Albian–Cenomanian of Annopol, Poland

  • NATHALIE BARDET (a1), VALENTIN FISCHER (a2) (a3) (a4) and MARCIN MACHALSKI (a5)
Abstract

During the Early–Late Cretaceous transition, marine ecosystems in Eurasia hosted a diverse set of large predatory reptiles that occupied various niches. However, most of our current knowledge of these animals is restricted to a small number of bonebed-like deposits. Little is known of the geographical and temporal extent of such associations. The middle Albian – middle Cenomanian phosphorite-bearing succession exposed at Annopol, Poland produces numerous ichthyosaurian and plesiosaurian fossils. These are mostly isolated skeletal elements (e.g. teeth, vertebrae), but disarticulated partial skeletons and an articulated, subvertically embedded ichthyosaur skull are also available. The following taxa are identified: ‘Platypterygius’ sp., cf. Ophthalmosaurinae, Ichthyosauria indet., Polyptychodon interruptus, Pliosauridae indet., Elasmosauridae indet. and Plesiosauria indet. The large-sized ichthyosaur ‘Platypterygius’ and the pliosaurid Polyptychodon interruptus predominate within the upper Albian – middle Cenomanian deposits. The Annopol record, combined with data from England, France and western Russia, suggests that ‘Platypterygius’ and Polyptychodon interruptus formed a long-term, stable ecological sympatry in marine ecosystems of the European archipelago, at least during the Albian – middle Cenomanian. In addition, the marine reptile assemblage from Annopol is distinct from other Eurasian ecosystems in containing also elasmosaurids in its Albian portion.

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Author for correspondence: mach@twarda.pan.pl
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