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Abstract

Early Jurassic plesiosaurian fossils are rare in the Scandinavian region, with a few isolated bones and teeth known from Bornholm, and anecdotal finds from East Greenland. The only other identifiable specimens derive from Toarcian-aged (based on ammonites) erratics deposited during Late Pleistocene glacial advances near the town of Ahrensburg, NE of Hamburg in northern Germany. The geographical source of these transported clasts is debated, but reconstructed ice-flow directions and lithofacies comparisons implicate either the offshore Baltic Sea between the Island of Bornholm and Mecklenburg–Vorpommern (Germany) or, less probably, south of the Danish Archipelago (Mecklenburg Bay). These regions collectively bordered the Fennoscandian landmass and adjacent Ringkøbing-Fyn Island in the late Early Jurassic, and were dominated by near-shore marine deltaic to basinal settings. The Ahrensburg plesiosaurian remains include postcranial elements reminiscent of both the microcleidid Seeleyosaurus and the rhomaelosaurid Meyerasaurus. These occur alongside other classic ‘Germanic province’ marine amniotes, such as the teleosaurid crocodyliform Steneosaurus and ichthyosaurian Stenopterygius cf. quadriscissus: thus, advocating faunal continuity between Scandinavia and southern Germany during the Toarcian, and a less pronounced marine reptile faunal provinciality than previously assumed.

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