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Young M.T., Zverkov N.G., Arkhangelsky M.S., Ippolitov A.P., Meleshin I.A., Mirantsev G.V., Shmakov A.S., Stenshin I.M. (2023) Thalattosuchian crocodylomorphs from European Russia, and new insights into metriorhynchid tooth serration evolution and their palaeolatitudinal distribution // PeerJ. P. 1-52.
From the Middle Jurassic to the Early Cretaceous, metriorhynchid crocodylomorphs inhabited marine ecosystems across the European archipelago. Unfortunately, European metriorhynchids are only well known from Germany, France, and the UK, with the Eastern European fossil record being especially poor. This hinders our understanding of metriorhynchid biodiversity across these continuous seaways, and our ability to investigate provincialism. Here we describe eleven isolated tooth crowns and six vertebrae referable to Metriorhynchidae from the Callovian, Oxfordian, Volgian (Tithonian), and Ryazanian (Berriasian) or Valanginian of European Russia. We also describe an indeterminate thalattosuchian tooth from the lower Bajocian of the Volgograd Oblast, the first discovery of a marine reptile from the Bajocian strata of European Russia. These rare fossils, along with previous reports of Russian thalattosuchians, indicate that thalattosuchians have been common in the Middle Russian Sea since it was formed. Palaeolatitude calculations for worldwide metriorhynchid-bearing localities demonstrate that the occurrences in European Russia are the most northern, located mainly between 44–50 degrees north. However, metriorhynchids appear to be rare at these palaeolatitudes, and are absent from palaeolatitudes higher than 50◦. These observations support the hypothesis that metriorhynchids evolved an elevated metabolism but were not endo-homeothermic, especially as endo-homeothermic marine reptiles (ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs) remained abundant at much higher palaeolatitudes. | Supplementary figures | Table S1.Supplementary references |