First and most northern occurrence of a thalattosuchian crocodylomorph from the Jurassic of the Isle of Skye, Scotland

Kim Kean, Davide Foffa, Michela Johnson, Mark Young, Gert Greitens, Steve Brusatte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The Jurassic was a key interval for the evolution of dinosaurs, crocodylomorphs, and many other vertebrate groups. In recent years, new vertebrate fossils have emerged from the Early-Middle Jurassic of the Isle of Skye, Scotland; however, much more is known about Skye's dinosaur fauna than its crocodylomorphs. Here we report new crocodylomorph material collected from Jurassic marine deposits at Prince Charlie's Cave on the north east coast of Skye. The specimen is a small cobble containing postcranial elements from an individual that is considerably larger in size than previous crocodylomorphs described from Skye. Based on features of the vertebrae and osteoderms, the specimen is assigned to Thalattosuchia, an extinct clade of semiaquatic/pelagic crocodylomorphs. Specifically, the sub-circular and bean-shaped pit ornamentation on the dorsal surface of the osteoderms in alternating rows suggest affinities with the semi-aquatic lineage Teleosauroidea. Although the ornamentation pattern on the osteoderms is most similar to Macrospondylus (“Steneosaurus”) bollensis, we conservatively assign the specimen to Teleosauroidea indeterminate. Regardless of its precise affinities and fragmentary nature, the specimen is the first thalattosuchian discovered in Scotland and is the most northerly reported Jurassic thalattosuchian globally, adding to our understanding of the palaeobiogeography and evolution of this group.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScottish Journal of Geology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2020


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