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African crocodylians in the Late Neogene of Europe: A revision of Crocodylus bambolii Ristori, 1890

  • Massimo Delfino (a1) and Lorenzo Rook (a2)

Genus Crocodylus is considered to have originated in Africa during the Early Miocene but it is only in the Late Miocene that there are evidences of dispersal toward Europe, where tomistomines and the alligatoroid Diplocynodon were widespread since the Paleogene. Revision of the type material of Crocodylus bambolii Ristori, 1890, a Tortonian crocodylian from the renowned Oreopithecus localities in central Italy, excludes it from Diplocynodon. The morphology of the remains, combined with chronology and biogeography, confirms its identity as cf. Crocodylus. The validity of the species Crocodylus bambolii is however not supported by the available morphological characters so that a solid differential diagnosis cannot be realized. It is therefore here proposed to consider Crocodylus bambolii as a nomen dubium. The European Late Miocene distribution of short-snouted crocodylians sees only alligatoroids in western Europe and, curiously, only crocodylids in the Central Mediterranean area. The Tusco-Sardinian and the Apulo-Abruzzi paleobioprovinces, whose lands are nowadays part of the Italian peninsula, are apparently the only European areas inhabited by short-snouted crocodylids, which are at the same time among the last crocodylians of the continent. The isolated teeth from Fiume Santo and Scontrone, two localities of these palebioprovinces, are also not Diplocynodon-like, but further material is needed to identify their owners with confidence.

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