Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Jersey Borealosuchus

The first new croc of 2012 - Borealosuchus threeensis. Yes, that's three-ensis, so named because it was found near exit 3 of the New Jersey turnpike.

Christopher A. Brochu, David C. Parris, Barbara Smith Grandstaff, Robert K. Denton Jr. & William B. Gallagher. 2012. "A new species of Borealosuchus (Crocodyliformes, Eusuchia) from the Late Cretaceous–early Paleogene of New Jersey." Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 32(1): 105-116 DOI:10.1080/02724634.2012.633585

A lower jaw and associated postcranial remains from the Late Cretaceous–early Paleocene Hornerstown Formation of New Jersey form the basis of a new crocodyliform species, Borealosuchus threeensis. Although one of the oldest known species of Borealosuchus, phylogenetic analysis supports a closer relationship to Borealosuchus from the early Eocene than with other Late Cretaceous or early Paleocene forms. This is based on the shared presence of a short mandibular symphysis excluding the splenial, a small external mandibular fenestra, and ventral osteoderms composed of two sutured ossifications. It is also similar to Borealosuchus material from the Paleocene of western Texas, though conspecificity cannot be demonstrated at present. A close relationship with the basal alligatoroids Leidyosuchus or Diplocynodontinae is not supported. The distribution of lower jaws with very small slit-like external mandibular fenestrae, or no fenestrae at all, among basal crocodylian lineages (including Borealosuchus) and close crocodylian relatives suggests the fenestrae may have been ancestrally absent in Crocodylia and regained two or more times. Current phylogenetic hypotheses are consistent with dispersal of more-derived species of Borealosuchus to the Western Interior during the Paleocene, and they indicate the presence of several unsampled lineages crossing the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary.