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Abstract

A diverse marine assemblage of vertebrate fossils has been collected in recent years under the auspices of the British Antarctic Survey from Seymour, James Ross and Vega islands east of the Antarctic Peninsula. The specimens were derived from the Late Campanian Santa Marta Formation, Early Maastrichtian Snow Hill Island Formation and the Early–Late Maastrichtian López de Bertodano Formation. Sharks, teleosts, plesiosaurs and mosasaurs are represented, but birds and sea turtles are absent from the BAS collections; neornithine birds have been previously reported from the Late Cretaceous deposits of Antarctica. Shark teeth are relatively abundant, but teleosts are seemingly under-represented. Plesiosaurs (Elasmosauridae) are more abundant and complete than mosasaurs, and juveniles of both marine reptile groups are relatively common. The marine lizards, mosasaurs, are taxonomically diverse as elsewhere in the world, but with relatively few individuals compared to the plesiosaurs, which are taxonomically limited. A converse relationship normally occurs at other lower latitude Late Cretaceous localities. Some of these abundances and appearances may be due to collection bias, particularly due to difficult collecting conditions and weathering, but certain distributions may be the result of high latitudes.

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