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Tylosaurine mosasaurs (Squamata) from the Late Cretaceous of northern Germany

  • J.J. Hornung (a1) (a2) and M. Reich (a3) (a4)
Abstract

Two genera of tylosaurine mosasaurs, Tylosaurus and Hainosaurus, are recorded for the first time from Germany. Tylosaurus sp. is represented by two isolated tooth crowns, originally described as Mosasaurus? alseni (here considered a nomen dubium) from the latest Santonian–Early Campanian, which are very similar to T. ivoensis and T. gaudryi. The material of Hainosaurus sp. comprises a maxillary with associated postorbitofrontal, two pterygoid teeth and several indeterminate cranial fragments. The specimen from the Late Campanian is slightly less derived than H. bernardi from the Maastrichtian in retaining labiolingually less compressed anterior maxillary teeth and unserrated pterygoid teeth with only very weak carinae. Despite only minor skeletal differences, the genus Hainosaurus is considered to be distinct from Tylosaurus because of its significant modification of the dental apparatus compared to the plesiomorphic condition in the latter. This dental morphology suggests a phylogenetic trend from a generalised-piercing marginal dentition in Tylosaurus towards the increasingly labiolingually compressed, symmetrical, strongly bicarinate cutting marginal teeth in Hainosaurus spp. from the Early through Late Campanian and Maastrichtian. A similar trend is also present in pterygoid teeth with very indistinct unserrated carinae in the Campanian Hainosaurus sp. towards serrated ones in the Maastrichtian H. bernardi. A short review indicates the presence of Hainosaurus in northern, central and western Europe (Sweden to Spain) since the Early Campanian, and the occurrence of Tylosaurus spp. in the same area until the Late Campanian. Hainosaurus persisted until the end of the Maastrichtian; outside Europe it may have been present in the Late Campanian of the USA and the Maastrichtian of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Judging from a simple, uni- to bicarinate, stoutly conical tooth morphology in aigialosaurs and very basal mosasaurs as well as phylogenetic patterns, the development of blade-like cutting tooth crowns appears to have been convergent in several clades of large-bodied Campanian–Maastrichtian mosasaurids. These include both mosasaurines ('Leiodon' mosasauroides, Prognathodon? sectorius, Prognathodon? kianda, Eremiasaurus heterodontus) and tylosaurines (Hainosaurus spp.).

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References
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