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Recovering lost time in Syria: New Late Cretaceous (Coniacian-Santonian) elasmosaurid remains from the Palmyrides mountain chain
Univ Sao Paulo, Dept Biol, FFCLRP, Ave Bandeirantes 3900, BR-14040901 Ribeirao Preto, SP, Brazil..
CR2P Ctr Rech Paleontol Paris, Museum Natl Hist Nat, CP38,57 Rue Cuvier, F-75005 Paris, France..
Nat Kundemuseum Bielefeld, Abt Geowissensch, Adenauerpl 2, D-33602 Bielefeld, Germany..
Uppsala University, Music and Museums, Museum of Evolution.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3128-3141
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2024 (English)In: Cretaceous research (Print), ISSN 0195-6671, E-ISSN 1095-998X, Vol. 159, article id 105871Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Despite its relatively limited vertebrate fossil record, Syria currently records the largest number of documented Mesozoic marine reptile occurrences among the Middle Eastern countries. In particular, the phosphatic deposits of the Palmyrides mountain chain have yielded fossils of aquatic squamates, bothremydid and chelonioid marine turtles, as well as elasmosaurid plesiosaurs. Nevertheless, new discoveries have not been reported for the last two decades. Here, we describe the partial skeleton of an elasmosaurid plesiosaur from Syria, which comprises the middle and posterior cervical series, together with articulated pectoral, dorsal and anterior caudal parts of the vertebral column, with associated rib fragments. The fossil was excavated from Coniacian-Santonian phosphatic deposits of the Al Sawaneh el Charquieh mines, in the central part of the southwestern Palmyrides, about 200 km northeast of Damascus. The specimen can be assigned to Elasmosauridae based on the cervical centra morphology and, although incomplete, is significant because it not only represents likely the oldest, but also the currently most complete plesiosaur skeleton recovered from the Middle East. (c) 2024 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2024. Vol. 159, article id 105871
Keywords [en]
Plesiosauria, Elasmosauridae, Syria, Coniacian-Santonian, Palmyrides, Late Cretaceous
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Geology Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-527974DOI: 10.1016/j.cretres.2024.105871ISI: 001206633000001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-527974DiVA, id: diva2:1858155
Available from: 2024-05-15 Created: 2024-05-15 Last updated: 2024-05-15Bibliographically approved

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Kear, Benjamin P.

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