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A new species of Halisaurus from the Late Cretaceous phosphates of Morocco, and the phylogenetical relationships of the Halisaurinae (Squamata: Mosasauridae)

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Abstract:

A new species of the basal mosasaurid Halisaurus from the Late Cretaceous (Late Maastrichtian) of the Oulad Abdoun Phosphate Basin of Morocco is described on the basis of both cranial and postcranial remains. H. arambourgi sp. nov. is characterized by unique features of the nares, frontal, parietal, girdle and limb bones. A phylogenetical analysis supports the monophyletic status of Halisaurus; H. platyspondylus (Maastrichtian, New Jersey), H. ortliebi (Maastrichtian, Belgium) and H. arambourgi form an unresolved polytomy. This study does not support the attribution of ‘Halisaurussternbergii (Santonian, Kansas) to Halisaurus nor to any known genus. A new genus, Eonatator, is proposed for the reception of this species, Eonatator sternbergii comb. nov. The new taxon Halisaurinae (Halisaurus + Eonatator) is the sister-group of more advanced mosasaurids (Natantia). Halisaurines are defined by the shape of the lateral premaxilla–maxilla suture; an oblique contact plane between the parietal and the supratemporal; a preaxial ridge present on the distal two-thirds of the radius length; and tibia and fibula long and slender with slightly expanded extremities. © 2005 The Linnean Society of London, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2005, 143, 447–472.

Keywords: Eonatator gen. nov.; Halisaurus arambourgi sp. nov.; Maastrichtian; phylogeny; systematics

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1096-3642.2005.00152.x

Affiliations: 1: UMR 5143 du CNRS, Département Histoire de la Terre, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, 8 rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France 2: Ministère de l’Energie et des Mines, Direction de la Géologie, BP 6208, Rabat, Morocco 3: Office Chérifien des Phosphates, Centre Minier de Khouribga, Khouribga, Morocco

Publication date: March 1, 2005

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