Late Miocene remains from Venta del Moro (Iberian Peninsula) provide further insights on the dispersal of crocodiles across the late Miocene Tethys

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Authors

DELFINO Massimo HERNÁNDEZ LUJÁN Ángel ABELLA Juan ALBA David M. BOHME Madelaine PEREZ-RAMOS Alejandro TSCHOPP Emanuel MORALES Jorge MONTOYA Plini

Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Paleontology
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Citation
Web https://doi.org/10.1017/jpa.2020.62[Opens%20in%20a%20new%20window]
Doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/jpa.2020.62
Keywords Gavialis; Crocodilian; Cretaceous
Description The dispersal of Crocodylus from Africa to Europe during the Miocene is not well understood. A small collection of cranial fragments and postcranial elements from the latest Miocene (6.2 Ma) site of Venta del Moro (Valencia, Spain) have previously been referred to Crocodylus cf. C. checchiai Maccagno, 1947 without accompanying descriptions. Here we describe and figure for the first time the crocodylian remains from Venta del Moro, which represent at least two individuals. Our comparisons indicate that this material clearly does not belong to Diplocynodon or Tomistoma-the only two other crocodylians described so far for the European late Miocene. The material is only tentatively referred to cf. Crocodylus sp. because the apomorphies of this genus are not preserved and a referral to C. checchiai cannot be supported on a morphological basis. However, it is likely that this late Miocene species, originally described from Libya (As Sahabi) and later identified also in Kenya, could have dispersed across the Mediterranean Basin multiple times and colonized the southern areas of Mediterranean Europe, as evidenced by several Crocodylus or Crocodylus-like remains described during the past years.
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