The Late Jurassic ichthyosaur Nannopterygius is among the poorest known, with the only skeleton, NHMUK PV 46497, on display in the Natural History Museum, London and, therefore, difficult to access. This holotype specimen is here reassessed. The newly obtained data have enabled the identification of several additional specimens of Nannopterygius in museum collections across the UK. Furthermore, all the material of Russian ichthyosaurs previously referred to genera Paraophthalmosaurus and Yasykovia, and considered as junior synonyms of Ophthalmosaurus in the majority of subsequent works, are also reassessed. Both these genera are synonymized with Nannopterygius with preservation of the two from six originally erected species: Nannopterygius saveljeviensis comb. nov. and Nannopterygius yasykovi comb. nov. Additionally, a new species from the Berriasian of Arctic (Svalbard and Franz Josef Land) is proposed. To resolve the phylogenetic relations within Ophthalmosauria, a revised dataset, including 44 taxa and 134 characters, 20 of which are new, was compiled. The results of a phylogenetic analysis places Nannopterygius spp. as sister to Arthropterygius spp. within Ophthalmosaurinae. Thus, the lineage of Nannopterygius was among several ophthalmosaurine lineages that crossed the Jurassic–Cretaceous boundary and, similarly to Arthropterygius, survived the Jurassic–Cretaceous transition at high latitudes.
Pterosaur faunas experienced dramatic turnover between the Early and Late Cretaceous, but fossils documenting this transition are rare. The mid-Cretaceous Kem Kem beds of Morocco are one of a handful of localities preserving pterosaurs from this important interval. Previously reported taxa from the Kem Kem beds include the ornithocheirid Siroccopteryx moroccensis, the azhdarchoids Alanqa saharica and Xericeps curvirostris, an unnamed tapejarid, and a putative pteranodontid. Here, a new species of ornithocheirid, Coloborhynchus fluviferox sp. nov., is described on the basis of a well-preserved anterior rostrum fragment. It is assigned to Coloborhynchus based on the presence of an anteriorly directed first tooth pair protruding from a palatal surface, which is deflected dorsally by 90 degrees. The new specimen differs from Siroccopteryx moroccensis and is distinguished from other species of Coloborhynchus by numerous characters, including an anterior palatal surface that defines a high isosceles triangle with two shallow, subcircular depressions located dorsal to premaxillary tooth pair one. The central region of alveoli for the first tooth pair is level with the dorsal borders of the second tooth pair and the mediodorsal crest rises steeply forming a blunt termination of the rostrum. The new species brings the number of pterosaur species from the Kem Kem beds to at least 5. The Kem Kem pterosaur assemblage resembles other Early Cretaceous faunas in having a high diversity of toothed forms, but also resembles latest Cretaceous faunas in having several edentulous azhdarchoids.
An isolated, partial premaxilla from the Lower Cretaceous (Barremian) Wessex Formation of Yaverland, Isle of Wight, UK is identified as pterosaurian on account of its overall morphology and thin bone walls. It is regarded as a tapejarid on account of it unique downturned tip with a unique pattern of slit-like foramina on its occlusal surface, while a combination of sensory foramina and lateral outline identify it as a new genus and species.The downturn of the occlusal margin lies beyond the anterior margin of the nasoantorbital fenestra suggesting affinities with Sinopterus from China rather than South American tapejarids such as Tapejara, Tupandactylus and Caiuajara. This specimen is the first record of Tapejaridae in the Wessex Formation, and is amongst the oldest record of the Tapejaridae outside of China.
A new ophthalmosaurid ichthyosaur, Thalassodraco etchesi gen. et sp. nov., from the Upper Jurassic Kimmeridge Clay Formation of Dorset, UK is described. The specimen, a partial, articulated skull and anterior thorax in the Etches Collection of Kimmeridge, Dorset, is exceptionally well preserved on a slab of laminated coccolith limestone and has been expertly prepared. It comprises a near complete skull in articulation with associated anterior vertebral column and dorsal ribs, complete pectoral girdle, fully exposed left forelimb, and some elements of the right forelimb. Other elements present, including an ischiopubis are preserved on separate slabs. Presumed rapid burial of the anterior portion of the specimen in the coccolith substrate has preserved a number of ossified ligaments lying across the vertebral column and associated ribs as well as stomach contents and decayed internal organs. Aspects of the dentition, skull roof bones and the forelimb configuration distinguishes the new specimen from previously described Late Jurassic ichthyosaurs. Autopmorphies for T. etchesi include a large rounded protuberance on the supratemporal bone; a thin L-shaped lachrymal, with a steeply curved posterior border; ~ 70 teeth on the upper tooth row, and deep anterior dorsal ribs. A well resolved phylogenetic analysis shows T. etchesi as a member of a basal clade within Ophthalmosauridae comprising Nannopterygius, Gengasaurus, Paraophthalmosaurus and Thalassodraco. The new specimen adds to the diversity of the Ichthyopterygia of the Kimmeridge Clay Formation and emphasises the important contribution of amateur collectors in palaeontology.
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